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Explains hoarding, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
If hoarding is causing you distress, you might want to consider seeking treatment. A growing number of professionals are aware of hoarding, including the need to help you take things at your own pace and not pressure you to make changes faster than you want to.
This page covers:
The first step is usually to visit your GP. If they think you are hoarding they might refer you to a psychiatrist (or another mental health professional) for an assessment.
Our information on seeking help for a mental health problem can help you talk to your GP. Some people have also created tools to help you start a conversation about hoarding. These include:
Using the Clutter Image Rating tool involves looking at pictures and choosing which ones most closely match your situation.
The main talking therapy used to treat hoarding is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour.
Evidence suggests that individual and group CBT can both be helpful, and that they are more likely to help if you follow a treatment programme designed for hoarding (rather than, for example, OCD). Hoarding-specific treatments are improving, as researchers are learning more about what can help.
Together with your therapist, you might:
Other types of talking therapy may also be helpful, but more research is needed to find out which ones.
Research suggests it can help if your therapist visits you at home, so they can understand more about your situation and help you work out how to make changes. Some people also seem to find it helpful to have treatment in a familiar environment.
"To be honest my recovery probably would not have started without [medication]. The anxiety and depression needed to be sorted out a bit before the house could even start to be sorted."
There aren't any specific medications for hoarding disorder, but some people find medication helps with other problems they are experiencing alongside hoarding. For example, you might be offered antidepressants.
See our pages on antidepressants for more information.
This information was published in September 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.