Hoarding – A Compulsive Mental Disorder Part Three
Tips to Combat Hoarding Efficiently
One of the most helpful resources on hoarding is the book called by David F. Tolin, Randy O. Frost, and Gail Steketee called Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding. This book has a detailed self-assessment on how to determine the severity of hoarding; there are tools and tips to organize possessions and file paperwork; there are strategies to change unhealthy beliefs about possessions and there are various behavioral experiments that help to reduce the fear and anxiety related to discarding possessions. David Tolin, Ph.D. is also the director and founder of the Anxiety Disorders Center at The Institute of Living.
Things to do when your loved ones have a hoarding problem
Experts are of the opinion that if your loved one is capable of making his/her decisions and is mentally competent, all you can do is recommend counseling and nothing else. Even though there are long-term negative consequences, your loved one has the right to hoard.
There is nothing much you can do at this stage other than show empathy and respect their decisions. You should be well tuned to the fact that your loved one will be prone to make a change. And, this is completely normal. You will also have to come to terms with the fact that you will not be able to change anything unless your loved one wants to change something.
Here are a few other tips to follow:
- Never argue – this is the last thing you should do because there will be no effect on the individual and arguing is also dangerous for those who are hoarding. Your arguments will be useless. Also, do not bicker over the behavior of the individual. It will be best not to argue in this situation.
- Respect the freedom of choice – you have to understand and respect the autonomy of the individual and their freedom of choice. The best thing to do would be to discuss what the individual would like to see in their home, the kind of changes they want or they want to bring in their home. You can ask for suggestions on the ways you can proceed. This will help to produce better results than commanding the individual to clean the mess they have created.
- Gentle recognition of inconsistencies will go a long way – this can be slightly difficult to execute. The basic idea of this step is to make your loved one understand what the inconsistency of their action is and what their desired change should be. You may get a response where they would want to clean up the mess but refusing to do so and this is a common inconsistency. But you should never say anything negative if the individual does not want to address the situation. That will only aggravate the behavior of the person. You can approach the situation by asking him/her about the long-term goals. The approach has to be as if you are asking something and not telling them what to do. If they say that they want to be a respected and loved grandparent 5 to 10 years from now, ask them if their current actions or activities will affect their way of achieving the goal that they just mentioned. Or, is there something else that they should do to achieve that goal?