By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Hoarding is about to become a recognized mental illness.
Hoarders just can’t make decisions when it comes to their own stuff. They don’t have trouble evaluating other people’s things, just their own, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Health.
There has been a lot more publicity about this than in times past but I have to believe that there have always been hoarders. People who lived through the “Great Depression” (1929 not 2008) tended to keep lots of stuff because if you ran out of wire or nails there might not be money to buy more. That is not the sort of saving that gets diagnosed as hoarding.
There seems to be something uniquely different about the way the mind of a hoarder works. Even when outsiders come in and reorganize the place, dispose of the garbage, the problem is not solved. The hoarder faced with new stuff, today’s mail or leftover napkins and condiment packets from fast food, can’t make a decision about what to keep and what to save. The result is they keep everything.
Proposed for inclusion in the new DSM-5 the new “Hoarding Disorder” is a fairly straightforward diagnosis with only a few characteristics needed to make the diagnosis.
The characteristics needed, in my oversimplified explanation of this one are:
1. Can’t bear to throw things away whether they are worth saving or not.
2. They feel like they must keep it and get upset if forced to part with the item.
3. As a result of the hoarding, they run out of room, and can’t use parts of their home for what it should be used for.
4. Hoarding is causing them problems with jobs, friends, making them unhappy, or creating an unsafe situation.
5. No other reason, medical, etc., for this behavior, is found
6. This is not caused by another mental illness like depression or anxiety etc.
Points one to three are what makes this disorder different and points four to six are standard conditions for almost all diagnosis to look for other possibilities and make sure this really is a problem before making the diagnosis.
There appear to be two types of hoarders.
Those who are indiscriminate collectors and go out of their way to get new stuff, buying, stealing, and scavenging things even when they have no use for the item.
Those hoarders who do not go out of their way to get things but can’t figure out what to keep and what to toss after they get things.
Whichever type of hoarder you or a person close to you are, the hoarder needs help. Cleaning out a hoarder’s collection is a short-term temporary fix. Hoarders need help from a profession to change their thinking or the whole process of accumulating just keeps repeating its self.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.
For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel