Hoarders have no 'room' for a relationship - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Hoarders have no 'room' for a relationship

Posted: Updated:
HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Many people collect things—newspapers, clothes, cookware, shoes—but what happens when your collecting becomes an obsession? You don’t become a hoarder overnight; it happens gradually, and one day you or someone else sees the truth; that your home has become a storage bin, and there is little room to sit, walk or sometimes even stand. Hoarding means to collect items excessively with the inability to get rid of them (visualizing getting rid of these items causes an overwhelming, unbearable panic). Hoarding may become life threatening when the collection includes collecting animals, making living conditions unsanitary and harmful to one’s health. Hoarding can be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but many people who hoard don't have other OCD-related symptoms. People who hoard also have a healthy dose of denial. Many times they don’t see it as a problem (until their partner leaves them), which can complicate the treatment. People who hoard usually end up alone because they don’t have room in their homes or life for a partner.

Not sure if you are a hoarder, living with a hoarder, or are simply a packrat? According to Dr. Jeff Szymanski, PH.D, who has done extensive research in this area, a hoarder is spending money on lockers, additional storage space, and has a hard time finding room to live in their house. They also fill their cars with possessions because they run out of room in their home. Another distinct point Szymanski makes is that packrats aren’t keeping people out of their house because of their clutter. Hoarders, on the other hand, love all of their stuff and they have no plans to get rid of it. Packrats don’t usually need treatment; it’s more of a personal preference. Hoarders are usually isolated and alone due to their hoarding. They are drawn to newspapers, magazines, books, clothing, receipts, bills, emails, and junk mail. The amount of junk a hoarder can accumulate is limitless.

Hoarders experience intense anxiety or distress when attempting to get rid of or even think about throwing something away. The reason they hoard is to combat the anxiety provoking thoughts of, “What if I run out?” or “What if I need to know something and I don’t have the source anymore?” The disorder doesn’t make sense to someone who doesn’t suffer from it and, therefore, you must understand the craving to hoard will never go away. It is a compulsion with a lot of anxiety fueling the thoughts. Below are some tips on getting help for the hoarder in your life:

1. Counseling. Psychotherapy is going to focus on helping the hoarder feel the intense anxiety without saving anything. Many times this is done through a process called Exposure therapy. This means practicing new ways (instead of hoarding) of responding to worrisome thoughts, intense feelings, as well as other triggers.

2. Medications. A psychiatrist or primary care doctor may prescribe medications that can help the hoarder manage the anxiety and depression so they can focus more effectively and work with the counselor.

3. Seek assistance or another opinion. Hoarders often have a difficult time determining what is important vs. unimportant, just enough vs. excessive, or necessary vs. inconsequential. They have a tendency to be isolated because very few people can tolerate the way they live. Hoarders ask for constant reassurance by asking, “How did this happen?” or “Why do I hoard?” A trusting friend can gently urge them to let go of the questioning and instead focus on what the objective is, and how they are going to achieve that without accumulating more stuff.

Hoarding has its underlying anxiety in the fear of not being prepared, not knowing when good enough is good enough, or when too much is too much. Their anxiety may not be realistic, but it is very real to them. If you are a hoarder or married to one, it is important you embrace the concept of making small changes and understanding their fear. This disorder never goes away, but can be managed with help. Focusing on clearing one space such as a kitchen or bathroom will be more successful than expecting to throw everything in the whole house away. Most hoarders feel isolated, depressed and anxious; realizing that their need for an abundance of stuff is the cause of their inability to engage in a healthy relationship.

– Mary Jo Rapini

  • Mary Jo RapiniMore>>

  • Do pick up lines work?

    Do pick up lines work?

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:03 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:03:49 GMT
    Mary Jo RapiniMary Jo Rapini
    The question came up, “Do pickup lines actually work?” To answer this, I went down to The Ginger Man in the Rice Village in Houston, Texas, and asked people what they thought.
    The question came up, “Do pickup lines actually work?” To answer this, I went down to The Ginger Man in the Rice Village in Houston, Texas, and asked people what they thought.
  • How to help yourself or someone you love with food addiction

    How to help yourself or someone you love with food addiction

    Friday, July 11 2014 12:14 PM EDT2014-07-11 16:14:37 GMT
    Mary Jo RapiniMary Jo Rapini
    Obesity is an epidemic all over the world. It underlies illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Food addicts differ from people who overeat during holidays or special events. They differ because they have a relationship with food that is unhealthy.
    Obesity is an epidemic all over the world. It underlies illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Food addicts differ from people who overeat during holidays or special events. They differ because they have a relationship with food that is unhealthy.
  • Addicted to the thrill of shopping

    Addicted to the thrill of shopping

    Friday, July 11 2014 11:44 AM EDT2014-07-11 15:44:41 GMT
    Mary Jo RapiniMary Jo Rapini
    Has shopping become a pastime for you? Many people, especially women, may answer that question yes…so how do you know when shopping has become a serious addiction instead of just bonding with friends, finding a cute outfit or having “me time?” According to the compulsive buying scale, there are seven questions to ask yourself.
    Has shopping become a pastime for you? Many people, especially women, may answer that question yes…so how do you know when shopping has become a serious addiction instead of just bonding with friends, finding a cute outfit or having “me time?” According to the compulsive buying scale, there are seven questions to ask yourself.
Powered by WorldNow

KRIV FOX 26
4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices