OCD and Hoarding
Understanding Hoarding in relation to OCD
Below are some of the common problems concerning hoarding:
- Forming emotional bonds with items, which can make it very difficult to throw them away
- The amount of space that they have left in the house can be irrelevant. Even if there is minimal room left, a hoarder will always find somewhere to put their collected items.
- A struggle in organizing items
- Often the organization of objects can help to make sense of the world around them
- The person will find any excuse to keep an item, even if they are not sure when they will be able to make use of it
- A niggling feeling that if they throw something away, then something is not complete, or ‘just not right.’
What causes the development of Hoarding disorder?
The exact causes of hoarding are unknown. However, as with many psychological disorders, it is believed to be a combination of biological and environmental factors. Possible suggested causes put forward by professionals include:
- The experience and sudden onset of unwanted painful emotions
- Perfectionist Traits
- The experience of trauma and loss
- Family History or habits
- Other associated mental health problems
How common is hoarding?
Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2-6% percent of the population and often leads to distress and problems in daily functioning. Some research show hoarding disorder is more common in males than females.
How can our program help?
As already stated, many of the underlying processes are the same behind both OCD and hoarding. While it can be essential to look at how the tendency to hoard may have come about, understanding one’s self and our relationship with intrusive thoughts and anxiety can play a vital role in the ongoing suffering of someone that hoards. Through carefully looking at every individual’s experience, we can help the person to shift those unhelpful coping strategies and look at more positive ways to respond to such anxious feelings and intrusive thoughts. Although it can be useful to be able to identify the origins of OCD and hoarding, this is not a necessity for a successful recovery.
The key aspects of our program that help to treat both OCD and hoarding alike are made up of Psychoeducation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) and talking therapy, which together prove to be very effective in treating both OCD and hoarding.
More specifically, helping clients challenge their beliefs around what it means to hoard, or throw things away, as well as learning how to sit with unwanted and painful emotions are particularly prudent for clients that successfully recover from both hoarding and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.