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 Post subject: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:27 pm 
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Has anyone ever had a family member/friend who was a serious hoarder, but then got better? Has anyone has ever had a successful intervention or any therapeutical treatment that has provoked a change in behaviour, and if so what was it, how did it work?

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:58 pm 
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Hello, I wish you had an answer to your question! The only thing that i can offer, is, i have made myself so stressed and gottensick enough of the way I am in my 1.5 story house, just over 1000 sq. foot house, that a main reason I have chosen to abandon (sell it) is to to make myself STOP. I definitely have some hoarding tendancies, along with OCD, and I am done with just living in a place that is disorganized and can be counted on to consistently look just trashed.
I am downsizing everything, throwing crepe away, and limiting myself to what myself and my family can take into our new home, which is smaller than a single-wide trailer, as it is a 30-foot holiday travel trailer. We will be living there for at LEAST a year, and I know we will love it and feel so unburdened! If we want to leave it, for example, to be land-owners again, we will stick to the small-scale floor plan and build a mini house!!
This whole move was inspired by a stint we did for two months, years ago, living in a campervan full-time. Which was so awesome! i don't know why we ever quit that way of life and went and bought a BIGGER house than the one we had left to do that, but whatever. I just though I would share that in hopes that it would share some insight. I think the main message I have to offer is, you have to really want to change. For yourself, and your mental health. And be willing to face what it is that made the intitial attachment to holding onto 'stuff' so attractive, then you can change. i hope someone else posts in here!

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:12 pm 
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i think i might be a hoarder. part of it is not wanting to burden landfills, and another is that due to my financial situation, i wouldn't want to buy that [whatever it is] in the future if i need it, so i might as well hold on to it. a lot of my hoarding is boxes and packing material for shipping things out. (mostly encouraged by the yearly raffle we organize)

i'm also lazy, and there are some boxes i've never looked through since moving in to the house 8 years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:17 pm 
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I'm definitely have hoarding tendencies. I am absolutely rubbish to throw things out. I even keep clothes that have permanent stains and holes in them. Every so often I manage to put them in a bag to go for recycling but the bag never actually makes it out of the house. I hold onto bills for years with no filing arrangements, they are just scattered all over the place. I haven't sat at my kitchen table in years because it is so cluttered with bills and junk mail.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Thank you for sharing your stories. I'm specifically looking for people's experiences with clinical, diagnosable hoarding, beyond having a lot of clutter. I have a loved one whose hoarding has become incapacitating in all rooms of the house, and outside of it as well. I'm looking for advice about what to do, stories of people who have gone through this. This person has recently had an injury, and it looks like this could be a tipping point to things getting even worse. This person lives alone, and my sibling and I--both of whom live far away-- are trying to figure out what to do. It's just devastating and heartbreaking to watch. The hoarding is of things, not animals. It's not squalor hoarding, but we're terrified it could go there, and has twinges of that in that there are bugs and there's dirt. Has anyone ever had a successful intervention, or had anyone successfully go through treatment for this illness? We're talking to doctors and a therapist, and I'm wondering about any anecdotes of anyone here. I'm surprised at how common this is, and saddened that there is so much stigma and circus-like treatment of it, due to the reality tv show.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:45 pm 
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supercarrot wrote:
i think i might be a hoarder. part of it is not wanting to burden landfills, and another is that due to my financial situation, i wouldn't want to buy that [whatever it is] in the future if i need it, so i might as well hold on to it. a lot of my hoarding is boxes and packing material for shipping things out. (mostly encouraged by the yearly raffle we organize)


I can really relate to both of these reasons. Things piled up when I was really ill for a few years too. Eventually the house started to suffocate me though and I realised that I was burdening myself with all this crepe, which would have to go to landfills eventually. I've had a few de-clutters since splitting up with my long term partner and it has been so liberating. I reuse as much as I can, recycle, charity shop and bin the rest as regularly as possible now. It's a small house and I work from home so it still gets cluttered, but it's never more than 20 minutes away from being visitor ready these days. It just takes a few minutes each day to keep it in half decent order and the housework is less when I don't have as much to move or clean round.

I read a good tip in a de-clutter article once, it was something like "if you saw this at a car boot for [whatever low amount] would you buy it?", if the answer is no then recycle, charity shop or bin it.

I've managed to go from holding onto all the crepe of the day, while my relationship was crumbling (stuff really doesn't equal security!), to putting sentimental birthday cards into recycling. They might as well be made into loo roll as gathering dust in a cupboard, getting in my way. On the flip side from binning things quicker now, I also try to be more concious about how much stuff I buy and whether I really need it or not.


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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:54 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
Thank you for sharing your stories. I'm specifically looking for people's experiences with clinical, diagnosable hoarding, beyond having a lot of clutter. I have a loved one whose hoarding has become incapacitating in all rooms of the house, and outside of it as well. I'm looking for advice about what to do, stories of people who have gone through this. This person has recently had an injury, and it looks like this could be a tipping point to things getting even worse. This person lives alone, and my sibling and I--both of whom live far away-- are trying to figure out what to do. It's just devastating and heartbreaking to watch. The hoarding is of things, not animals. It's not squalor hoarding, but we're terrified it could go there, and has twinges of that in that there are bugs and there's dirt. Has anyone ever had a successful intervention, or had anyone successfully go through treatment for this illness? We're talking to doctors and a therapist, and I'm wondering about any anecdotes of anyone here. I'm surprised at how common this is, and saddened that there is so much stigma and circus-like treatment of it, due to the reality tv show.


I think the thing to do is try to get the person in question to address the issues that are causing the hoarding through therapy. Otherwise, it's just clearing space for more stuff to be hoarded.


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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:09 pm 
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fezza wrote:
molasses jane wrote:
I think the thing to do is try to get the person in question to address the issues that are causing the hoarding through therapy. Otherwise, it's just clearing space for more stuff to be hoarded.


I agree with this. From learning about hoarding, as it was a subject of interest at one point to me, I know that it is absolutely key to get the hoarding person involved in any point of recovery. Even if it to physically get them to have throw their stuff out, they must be there, doing the work, hands-on (or acceding or giving permissions to have some certain amount of stuff thrown out by another proxy person) or else it will all recur in a cycle. Their needs to be a cycle-breaking occurence, whether it is brought to the person or whether they are brough to it. And then, of course, therapeutic mental or cognitive work needs to be their choice as well.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:42 pm 
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fezza wrote:
On the flip side from binning things quicker now, I also try to be more concious about how much stuff I buy and whether I really need it or not.

i very rarely buy things that aren't useful, and i detest birthdays and christmas, because i know i'll just get another "thing" wasting space in my house.
i do easily put things in the yard sale box, so i guess i'm not a hoarder, i'm just a poor environmentalist.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:00 pm 
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The boarder needs to be willing to enter therapy and have some motivation to work on their issues...


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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:19 pm 
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thanks all. what it boils down to is, that like any addiction, the addict has to want to make a change. and in this case that's not true, and hasn't ever been. it's just so horrible to stand by and watch someone do this--to herself, to her family. we've tried so many times over the years, interventions, therapists, tears, pleading. it's just horrible to feel like i have to give up on someone i love so much. i'm just heartbroken, and the toll that this has taken on me and my sibling has been enormous.

it's so hard when what the question really is, is how do you get someone to want to change?

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:03 pm 
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I have a family member who has apparently hoarded her house quite badly. And not just stuff and whatnot packed everwhere, a proper dirty hoard with animal feces and floors ruined by urine. I have not seen the house myself, but apparently things have gotten quite bad. She was laid off this summer and instead of using that time to clean, I think it has only gotten worse. Again, this is just what I've been told.

I am a huge, huge fan of the TV show Hoarders. The last few episodes I have been tweeting along with the twitter Hoarders community. So I have an addiction of my own! The problem with true, proper hoarding is that it is not just an addiction - some hoarders are compulsive shoppers and that exacerbates the situation, but I think the mental health community considers Hoarding an offshoot of OCD type issues. For most of the people on the show (and I have a feeling this is true for hoarders by and large) help is only sought when a true breaking point is reached such as children/pets being taken away, legal issues with their municipality, their homes being condemned, etc etc. Some people have to hit rock bottom and no level of pleading will get through to them. And if that is the case all you can do is try to take care of yourself and remind yourself that you've done your best, and give yourself permission step back for a while.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:03 pm 
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Moon wrote:
The last few episodes I have been tweeting along with the twitter Hoarders community. So I have an addiction of my own!


No you don't. You have a fandom.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:11 pm 
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molasses jane wrote:
it's so hard when what the question really is, is how do you get someone to want to change?


my heart goes out to you, molasses jane. that's a question i've wondered many times myself.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:50 am 
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Have you checked if there is a national support group for this type of diagnoses? AA and Al-Anon have helped me deal with my MIL's alcoholism. An intervention (in the AA vein) might help get their attention, but as you probably know, you can't really force someone to want to change. That has to come from within them. But honestly telling them how their addiction has affected you, and why you are so worried about them, might give them a wake-up call.

I'm very sorry, mj. It's a shitty asparagus place to be, watching someone you love go down that road.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:34 am 
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dakini wrote:
molasses jane wrote:
it's so hard when what the question really is, is how do you get someone to want to change?


my heart goes out to you, molasses jane. that's a question i've wondered many times myself.


It's really hard. I grew up in a hoarder's environment and it still messes with me to this day. I'm in therapy to deal with a lot of this! It's my understanding that hoarders usually fall into the obsessive compulsive personality disorder column (completely different from obsessive compulsive disorder...I wish they'd change the name because it's confusing!). Personality disorders are really tough, because there is no *cure* per se. It's all about recognizing and trying to scale back the behaviors that are damaging. A person is never cured of it because it's his/her personality. They won't stop being hoarders, but they can learn how to recognize and deal with that symptom by getting to the root cause.

Hoarding is a symptom of deeper issues, obviously, so if there's any way you can encourage this person to seek talk therapy that's the way to go. I wouldn't direct it to the hoarding, necessarily, because that word has become such a pop reference thanks in part to the show that the person may feel stigmatized. But if you can talk frankly about your concerns and encourage therapy, that might be a start.


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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:16 am 
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My father, after divorcing from my mother and moving into the house of his dead parents that he inherited, has become a hoarder. At Thanksgiving in October this year, I was alone for a while at my dad's house and I decided to open some of the doors to bedrooms that were closed. I was absolutely appalled to find that the rooms were forking disgustingly full of junk, covered in dust and just awful.

Dealing with that, also with his drug use and my mother's alcohol abuse, I've learned the hard way that the only thing you can do is step back and take care of yourself. I've pleaded, cried, told them how it affects me, for all of the above issues, and it's made no difference. Someone will only change when they want to. So remove yourself from the situation as best as you can and put yourself first.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:49 pm 
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http://www.hoarders.org/f-c.html This is resources for families of hoarders.
More here: http://www.ocfoundation.org/EO_Families_of_Hoarders.aspx

Some of those resources are support groups for family/friends of hoarders.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:31 pm 
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The book "Clutters Last Stand" is an older but good book that can help inspire clean out. It's not a therapy book but it does help someone take a look at their clutter and why they are keeping and tips for getting rid of it.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:50 pm 
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fezza wrote:
I think the thing to do is try to get the person in question to address the issues that are causing the hoarding through therapy. Otherwise, it's just clearing space for more stuff to be hoarded.

Yep. They're hoarding because of some other psychological issue. It may be to fill a void, or it may be to make them feel like they're in control. A proper therapist could help them figure out what the underlying causes are. But again, they would have to WANT to make a change.

Also, the support group thing is a really good idea, even if it's just for YOU and not them. You're doing what you can, and if it's not working, it's not working, so don't beat yourself up.


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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:32 pm 
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thanks everyone. i think it's more complex than trying to fill a void or wanting control, and it's more complicated than an addiction. i've been reading a great book called 'stuff' that is helping me understand the very complicated, and in some cases biological, issues at play. "dirty secret" is also a great memoir that i found useful and very informative, as well as comforting in terms of reading of a someone with such a similar experience. shanti, thank you for those sites. i'm thinking about trying to get into some kind of support group to help cope with this, and it's really causing me a lot of stress and heartbreak.

in my situation, we've tried all kinds of interventions and conversations and such. dakini. thank you for your thoughtful response. it's just heartbreaking. i feel torn between letting go this person that i love and trying to help/provoke this person to get help/change. it's a tough spot, and mostly i just feel really really sad about it. i am so mad at the pop culture "hoarders" tv shows and such that make entertainment out of this very serious, absolutely crushing psychological conundrum. it has been devastating my family for almost fifteen years, and i'm just tired of it.

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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:33 pm 
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I would really suggest al-anon, it can help you to figure out how you want to deal with your loved one and their issue.


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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:40 pm 
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See if you can get your family member/friend into the Mclean OCDI in Boston. His/her insurance might cover it, and it's widely regarded as the best program for people with OCD in the country.

http://www.mclean.harvard.edu/patient/adult/ocd.php

My parents pressured me to go, because I had been dealing with intrusive bad thoughts (a form of OCD). But I only stayed a week, because I didn't think whatever I had was close to as bad as what the other patients had. Anyway, that's how I came to Boston in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:57 pm 
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erynne936 wrote:
I would really suggest al-anon, it can help you to figure out how you want to deal with your loved one and their issue.


I don't like how I wrote that... It's about focusing on Your life and how you live it/cope with issues/relationships rather than on the alcoholic/hoarder/etc.


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 Post subject: Re: hoarding + therapy/reform
PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:20 pm 
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JonnyWoop wrote:
See if you can get your family member/friend into the Mclean OCDI in Boston. His/her insurance might cover it, and it's widely regarded as the best program for people with OCD in the country.

http://www.mclean.harvard.edu/patient/adult/ocd.php

My parents pressured me to go, because I had been dealing with intrusive bad thoughts (a form of OCD). But I only stayed a week, because I didn't think whatever I had was close to as bad as what the other patients had. Anyway, that's how I came to Boston in the first place.


Thank you for the thought, but OCD and Hoarding are totally different beasts. Recent studies, and the major specialists of Hoarding have all come to the conclusion that while Hoarding used to be seen as a subset of OCD, they are entirely different in terms of associated sensations, brain chemistry, and behavior patterns, and that treatments for OCD and Hoarding are not at all the same.

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