How Counseling Can Address Hoarding Disorder

If you are a car enthusiast, you will likely have comprehensive knowledge about your favorite car brands and models. You might also have developed a pretty meticulous way of categorizing automobiles according to their technical specifications and other features.

For you, shifting gears requires a personal touch. You perceive an intimate relationship between you and your car. And you couldn’t get enough of it. At some point, you will find yourself wanting to add more to your collection.

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Being overly excited about these mean machines is typical. Car enthusiasts commonly collect these luxurious items as a hobby. However, this might be the beginnings of hoarding, which adds clutter to your home and is neither normal nor healthy. 

There is a fine line between hoarding and collecting. For example, car collectors have the intention to display or use their cars. However, individuals with a hoarding disorder may be unnecessarily keeping and purchasing cars that no longer have any monetary or visual worth.

Hoarding behavior may also get in the way of social and personal life. For example, cars that do not get timely maintenance may eventually become a health risk. A hoarder might ignore this and continue keeping the car while not getting it checked. Such behavior is destructive and can cause harm to you and the people around you. Read this article to know how counseling can help address hoarding disorder.

Understanding and Diagnosing Hoarding Disorder

Individuals who experience excessive hoarding have a strong urge not to discard items.  They usually have a strong inclination to keep things; throwing anything causes them psychological distress. As a result, a hoarder has way too many possessions. These are usually items they refused to throw out of their homes or workplaces. A counselor can help understand and diagnose this kind of hoarding behavior.

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Symptoms of Hoarding Behavior

Counseling can help you determine the symptoms of excessively acquiring worthless possessions. Some symptoms of hoarding behavior are:

  • Extreme difficulty in discarding or giving away items, regardless of their actual worth
  • Piles of possessions in living space even when you cannot use them
  • A perceived need to save every single item 
  • Psychological distress related to separation from their possessions

The Severity of Hoarding Symptoms

Your counselor may ask you a series of questions during the session. These can determine your behavioral patterns and assess the severity of your symptoms. They may ask about the following:

  • Trouble discarding what others would easily get rid of
  • Difficulty with using rooms and spaces in your home
  • Effects of hoarding and cluttering on your daily functioning
  • Frequency of purchasing things without actually using them
  • The distress you feel from your symptoms
  • Effects of hoarding on your social interactions in school, work, or family relationships

Your counselor may also ask permission to conduct interviews with your friends and family. This is necessary to examine your level of functioning. Additionally, it could help diagnose other disorders associated with this behavior.

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Causes of Hoarding Behavior

A counselor can help you dig deeper into the roots of your hoarding behavior. For instance, they can look into genetic influences triggering this problem. Some of the common causes of hoarding behavior include:

  • Effect of brain damage or injury
  • Experiencing a traumatic life event
  • Having a family member with the same disorder

Prepare yourself for the counseling sessions. For example, note how long you have been experiencing the symptoms. This will help your counselor sort out your personal beliefs about your behavior. 

Also, include a detailed description of your personal history and medical information. This way, your counselor can rule out other factors affecting your hoarding patterns.

Providing Treatment and Coping Strategies

Individuals with hoarding disorder may be reluctant to address their negative and maladaptive behavior. This is because most of them do not recognize its impact on their lives. When their possessions are forcefully taken away, they may become extremely frustrated and angry. This is why treatment should always involve family members or close friends.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the primary therapy used in managing hoarding symptoms. It is the most common type of psychotherapy for treating hoarding behavior. During the counseling session, your therapist may:

  • Help you define the thought processes and beliefs related to hoarding
  • Improve your coping skills to resist the urge to hoard
  • Ask you to declutter your home and organize your possessions
  • Teach you decision-making strategies to inspire motivational change

Your counselor can also teach you coping strategies. It is always helpful to follow your treatment plan. It’s okay to fail on your first try. The goal is to improve yourself next time. Other coping strategies you can use to improve your lifestyle include:

  • Keeping up with your personal hygiene
  • Accepting help and assistance from others
  • Eating healthily and exercise regularly

Being fascinated with cars is great. Your enthusiasm for automobiles can also help you develop a more personal relationship with these machines. Being enthralled by cars lets you initiate conversations even with random strangers.  

You might also be helpful to drivers and riders stuck on the road with your information. Despite being usually about showroom-quality cars, there might be something helpful for other people. Hoarding knowledge about cars will never be an actual problem. 

However, if the hoarding behavior becomes destructive to your personal life, you should immediately seek assistance. Counseling can provide you a deeper understanding of the root causes of your behavior. It can also determine an appropriate diagnosis. 

Your counselor can give you a detailed treatment plan for your condition and help you learn effective coping strategies. In the end, fighting your hoarding disorder will not be easy, but attending a counseling session may lead to your new beginning.

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