National Mental Health Awareness Month

Hoarding Disorder can cause people to live in unhealthy and hazardous living environments. It causes stress, shame, and social isolation. 2%-6% of the United States population are affected by Hoarding Disorder.

Different types of hoarding include:
š Animal Hoarding
š Clothes Hoarding
š Information Hoarding
š Shopaholic/Retail Therapy
š Do-It-Yourself/Tinkering
š Memorabilia
What are the Symptoms of Hoarding?
• Difficulty managing daily life activities, perfectionism
• Great risk of their belongings catching fire
• Distrust of others touching their possessions
• Living in unstable and unhealthy environments
• Social isolation from family and friends
• Disorganization
• Foul odor inside environment and possibly emanating outside

Scientific evidence suggests possible genetic component (people inherit a set of brain
characteristics that make it easier to develop hoarding problems). Other causes of hoarding may include brain injury that triggers need to save stuff and/or a traumatic life event (death of loved one, divorce, loss of job, etc.)

Hoarding affects everyone – the individual, family members, communities, schools,
neighborhoods, etc. It is a real mental health issue that requires direct interaction with
compassionate, skilled professionals that are trained in this field. Other mental health
challenges, such as ADHD, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. are known as
comorbidities associated with hoarding disorder.

What Treatments are Available?
• Therapy – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) –individual learns to understand why they hoard and how to manage anxiety issues when discarding items
• Professional Organizer specializing in Hoarding Disorder – teaches individual
organization and decision-making skills to manage their possessions
• Medication – antidepressants (Effexor®) and (Paxil®) can improve symptoms. Most
successful with combination of CBT, medications and Professional Organizer working
together to help individual with Hoarding Disorder to learn new lifestyle behavior and
reducing these symptoms leads to an improved quality of life

If you and/or a loved one has hoarding symptoms, I urge you to connect w/skilled professionals and resources immediately. As a Professional Organizer that specializes in hoarding, I work with the client 1:1 in a judgement-free capacity. I am honored to be part of the client’s journey, and we celebrate each step forward. Contact your mental health clinician for further information.

Until next time, Rejoice!
Tammy C. O’Neil,