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How is compulsive hoarding treated?

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine
Some people will gain better control when they combine antidepressant or antianxiety medications with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a method that slowly and systematically retrains the brain to react more appropriately to stressful situations. 

Hoarders can also work with a professional organizer who can offer ways to categorize, store, sort, donate, and discard belongings.
Shelley Webb
Nursing
There are basically 2 types of treatment for hoarding: psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive behavior therapy is the type of psychotherapy that is generally used to help hoarders so if you are looking for a therapist to help your loved one, look for one that practices this type of therapy. The classes of medications that are used to attempt to help hoarders are called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which are anti-depressants. There is not a guarantee that SSRIs work well though.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Since compulsive hoarding behavior is sometimes a symptom of another mental health condition, treatment usually involves measures that work for that specific condition. Treatment regimes for OCD, depression, or other mental health conditions, for example, might keep compulsions in check if the behavior is a symptom of that condition. But not all hoarders can be categorized that way and successful treatment of hoarding is notoriously difficult.

Some people will gain better control when they combine antidepressant or antianxiety medications with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a method that slowly and systematically retrains the brain to react more appropriately to stressful situations. Over time the sufferer eventually learns that no harm will come to them if they throw something away.

Hoarders can also work with a professional organizer who can offer ways to categorize, store, sort, donate, and discard belongings.

This content originall appeared on doctoroz.com.
Marla Deibler, PsyD
Psychology

Although some individuals with compulsive hoarding respond to antidepressant medication, many individuals do not.  Cognitive-behavioral Therapy has been demonstrated to be helpful in the treatment of compulsive hoarding, which involves helping individuals to change they way they think about and make decisions about their possessions in order to control the behavior. This process involves behavioral assessment, psychoeducation, exposure/response prevention, cognitive restructuring, and excavation exposure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.