Hoarding Disorder: It’s More Than Just Throwing Things Away

By: Emily Mulhaul

“You’re a mess!” “Just throw it away!” “How do you live like this?” These are some of the phrases individuals diagnosed with Hoarding Disorder receive one too many times. Meanwhile, their indecision to throw things away is more internal than most can understand. As proposed in the DSM-5, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM) characterizes Hoarding Disorder as an avoidance of decision making about possessions. Although the mess created by the perceived hoarder is tangible and visible, it can be understood that the avoidant behavior may result from the emotional attachment linked to these items. During an interview with an individual recovering from hoarding disorder she made a comment stating, “If I throw away these items, it’s as if I’m throwing away my memories, my childhood, and my mother.” She metaphorically relates throwing things away to ridding herself of her most cherished moments. This commonly occurs in individuals who have suffered the trauma of losing a family member. When the collection of items becomes excessive or interruptive to the progression of one’s life it may be possible this individual has developed a hoarding disorder. The grieving process is different for everyone and in the case of a hoarding disorder it is far more complex than merely throwing things away. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors understand the depth of an emotional attachment and are compassionate towards helping those suffering or at risk of hoarding disorder.

If you or a loved one have a hoarding disorder the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, social workers, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling are here to help. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

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Source: National Institute of Mental Health

 

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