Many people collect special items to display: baseball cards, dolls, antiques, and coins are examples of popular collections.
Maintaining a collection is not a problem, but when an individual compulsively acquires an excessive number of items and the idea of parting with or discarding these items causes severe anxiety, it is possible that that person is dealing with a hoarding disorder.
Hoarding is different than collecting.
A person who hoards possessions acquires things that have no seeming value or worth, and acquires such a large number of possessions that they overflow any attempt at storage or organization.
Rooms in the home become unusable for their intended purpose, mobility in the home is diminished, and basic activities like cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping are impaired to near impossibility.
Hoarding can cause a number of problems ranging from emotional reactions like frustration and embarrassment to legal and health problems.
Family and friends of people who have a hoarding disorder suffer the effects of the problem as well.
There is often anger and resentment at the situation and the person causing the problem, as well as depression stemming from an inability to resolve the issue.
Tangible health problems like allergies and respiratory problems are often an issue for family members, and children who live in a home where hoarding is a problem can suffer social delays.
These side effects of hoarding may in turn lead to a strain on family relationships, financial problems, separation or divorce, and even eviction.
An estimated 2-5% of the population suffers from a hoarding disorder.
As hoarding is recognized in the psychiatric community as a variant or symptom of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, there are ways to help friends or family members struggling with this affliction.
Cognitive behavioral therapy with a mental health professional can be beneficial.
Psychological treatment can help family members as well as the individual who suffers with the hoarding disorder.
There are also companies who will help sort, clean, and discard the hoarder’s possessions.
The Boyne District Library is hosting a Hoarding and Compulsive Spending Program featuring hoarding expert, Terrence Shulman, on Tuesday Jan. 3, 2017, from 7-8:30pm.
Mr. Shulman, who founded the Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending, and Hoarding, has been helping people recover from addictive behaviors like hoarding since 1992.
He has been featured on The Today Show, TLC’s “Buried Alive,” and 20/20.
His presentation will offer advice on helping yourself or those you love work on resolving hoarding behaviors.
This program is free and open to the public. For more info, contact Monica at the library at 582-7861 or visit www.boynelibrary.org.