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Help for Hoarding and Addiction

Help for Hoarding and Addiction

Hoarding is the obsessive compulsive behavior of collecting and possessing things. These ‘things’ can be any sort of item and may be of little worth to the owner, but will accumulate and become a hindrance and eventually a hazard to the owner or others. In addition, hoarders are unable to part with the items they have accumulated. Although hoarding has not officially been accepted as an addiction or psychiatric illness, the compulsive nature of the behavior supports the conclusion that the activity is an addiction in itself. Hoarding is also linked or interconnected with many other psychological disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, social anxiety and depression. Furthermore, hoarding often co-occurs with substance abuse and addiction.

Why is Hoarding Linked to Substance Abuse and Addiction?

The brain structure of a hoarder differs from a non-hoarder, where research has shown hoarders to have abnormal brain activity levels that affect attention, decision-making, impulse-control, self-motivation and visual processing. These biological factors make one highly-susceptible to behavioral disorders, such as compulsive hoarding, obsessive compulsive disorder and addiction. The brain activity of a hoarder causes him or her to make ill-advised, impulsive and irrational decisions. Certain activities or behaviors are likely to become habit or compulsive, especially if they bring some feeling of pleasure.

Hoarding is often stigmatized because of the unsanitary, illogical behavior that consumes one’s life, and many hoarders struggle with deep feelings of shame and embarrassment. Alcohol, prescription or illicit drugs may be used to cope with these feelings.  Most hoarders also lack socialization skills and have personality traits of avoidance, indecisiveness, anxiety and perfectionism. These traits make it even more difficult for hoarders to be accepted, liked or understood by others, which cause hoarders to become especially isolated. Loneliness, biological factors and the emotional distress of one’s behavior and lifestyle are what make hoarders high-risk for substance abuse and addiction. Drugs or alcohol can temporarily numb emotional pain, relieve stress and anxiety and distract an individual from loneliness, while making one feel more comfortable to socialize or interact with others. Unfortunately, hoarders do not recognize that their substance abuse is creating even greater problems while also masking the root cause of their pain: a compulsive behavior and mental health illness.

Addiction Recovery Help for Hoarders

Neither addiction nor compulsive hoarding behavior is “curable”, but both issues can be managed so that the individual can get back to a relatively “normal”, healthy and sober life. Addiction recovery programs can treat both issues simultaneously, so that neither disorder can perpetuate the other. There are several options for treating these co-occurring disorders, and a combination of treatment methods, or integrated treatment, will be most beneficial for addressing the numerous issues at hand. Treatments such as detoxification, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, psychotherapy, family/group therapy and alternative therapies are frequently used and quite effective for co-occurring addiction and hoarding disorders.

Seeking Help for Hoarding and Addiction?

If you are seeking help for hoarding and addiction, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our trained addiction counselors are on-hand 24 hours a day to assist you in finding the help you need. Counselors will answer your questions, address your concerns and provide you with important information on hoarding and addiction, treatment and recovery. From information on cost and insurance coverage to information on different types of treatment, our counselors will provide you with credible, professional help. When you are ready, we can even connect you with the programs and services that are right for you or your loved one. Recovery help for hording and addiction is a phone call away.