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Hoarding Disorder is a mental health condition in which an individual has difficulty discarding or otherwise parting with possessions – regardless if they are valuable. People with Hoarding Disorder may experience anxiety, distress, and shame around their possessions. Their difficulty in discarding items may be due to a perceived need to save items, as well as intense distress associated with the act of discarding. Some individuals with Hoarding Disorder also engage in what is termed “excessive acquisition,” that is, acquisition of items which they do not need and for which their home does not have space. Some individuals with Hoarding Disorder may also have poor insight into the detrimental effects of their hoarding behaviors. The trouble with discarding possessions results in living areas becoming cluttered with objects, such that living areas cannot be used. Some individuals may reside in homes which are relatively uncluttered, but this is only due to intervention from others, such as family members, cleaners, or law enforcement. Symptoms of Hoarding Disorder vary across individuals, but typically include one or more of the following:

  • Perceived need to save even objectively useless items
  • Perceived need to acquire mote items, despite lack of space or use for the items
  • Strong emotional connections to items, even those which are not sentimental in nature
  • Marked difficulty making decisions about belongings
  • Interventions from family and friends result in little to no improvement, even after forced cleanings or similar actions
  • Distress – either on the part of the individual or their loved ones – about clutter in the home
  • Clutter in the home poses significant health and safety risks to the individual or others
  • Hoarding behaviors impair work, school, social, or home life

We at The Chicago Stress Relief Center specialize in the treatment of this pervasive mental health condition and have the necessary training and resources to deliver evidence-based treatment to Hoarding Disorder sufferers of all ages. We use Exposure Response Prevention therapy (ERP) in the treatment of Hoarding Disorder. Through ERP, individuals with Hoarding Disorder learn to face their anxiety around discarding items in a gradual manner, helping them to clear their homes, reconcile with family members, and change their perceptions of themselves and their belongings, all while gaining their lives back from hoarding. We also offer Motivational Interviewing, for individuals who have little insight into the effect of their hoarding behaviors to become motivated for treatment. If you or someone you know would benefit from our specialized Hoarding Disorder treatment services, contact us at (847) 412-0922. 

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