Voices of People Affected by Hoarding
"I know I should get rid of things and I try. Whenever I do, one of two things happens: I have unbearable anxiety or I get so excited to find things I haven't seen in ages!"
"I haven't had anyone in my home for 10 years. I'd be embarrassed for anyone to see how much stuff I have. Because of that I have several things in my house that no longer work, but I make do."
"My father hasn't let me in his house for many years. Now he has failing health and we have to find a way to take care of him, but he gets mad any time I try to help. It's an impossible situation."
"I sneaked a few things out of my sister's house. It was just empty bottles and newspapers. Now she won't talk to me and tells people I stole from her."
Susan works long-term in the home to allow a client to acclimate to the changing surroundings and to learn new patterns and behaviors. Included in the work is strengthening communication between the client and family and friends. Assessment of support needed to address repairs, volume of things, and removal of large items continues throughout the process.
When a deadline is present for removing a large volume of things, Susan coordinates a team of assistants and specialty services. If volunteers are available, she educates, trains and supervises the client's team, serving as project manager.
Find Support & Hope in the Nashville Area
Susan Gardner, CPO-CD, MDiv, offers different workshops throughout the year. These are geared to people who hoard as well as to family and friends.
They include “Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading and Threatening in Hoarding” and “Couples/Families in Clutter Conflict”
Both workshops are designed for the person who hoards along with affected family and friends.
To learn about these and other events as they are offered, sign up here.
The Clutter Movement with Marnie Matthews
Definition of Hoarding Disorder
Hoarding disorder is characterized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM5) by these three main symptoms:
1. Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with personal possessions, even those of apparently useless or limited value, due to strong urges to save items, distress, and/or indecision associated with discarding.
2. The symptoms result in the accumulation of a large number of possessions that fill up and clutter the active living areas of the home, workplace, or other personal surroundings (e.g., office, vehicle, yard) and prevent normal use of the space. If all living areas are uncluttered, it is only because of others’ efforts (e.g., family members, authorities) to keep these areas free of possessions.
3. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (including maintaining a safe environment for self and others).
Resources to Understand Hoarding Disorder
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding, by David Tolin, Randy Frost, and Gail Steketee
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee
From Hoarding to Hope: Understanding People Who Hoard and How To Help Them, edited by Geralin Thomas
Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring, by Michael Tompkins and Tamara Hartl
"Hoarding disorder patients deem few treatments as acceptable," by Bruce Jancin, Clinical Psychiatry News