Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
The first step to stop hoarding clutter is to fully acknowledge that you have a problem, and then to seek treatment for it. Treatment can begin by talking to your doctor about your condition; he or she can likely refer you to a therapist who specializes in treating obsessive compulsive behaviors such as hoarding. Odds are that you'll be encouraged to undergo cognitive behavior therapy, a process which will help you understand what drives you to hoard and help you develop the healthy habits and decision-making skills to get better. Doctors might also prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), which are antidepressants to help you work through your condition.
Although it may be daunting, don't talk yourself out of seeking treatment to stop hoarding clutter. Many compulsive hoarders talk themselves into believing that they don't have a problem, that they have good reason to keep the items they hoard. The reality is that obsessive hoarding is a condition that can leave a person feeling emotionally conflicted and socially alienated. It can also create unhealthy living environments. It's important to keep in mind that hoarding is a diagnosable condition, much like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and treating it is important to your health.
You can begin by asking your doctor to refer you to a good, local psychotherapist that specializes in cognitive behavior therapy. Before undergoing such therapy, you should know that it could take years to fully work through the issue. That shouldn't discourage you, though; cognitive behavior therapy is a great way for you to fully talk out and work through your issues. Therapy will also teach you to develop healthy habits and better decision-making skills to stop hoarding clutter. It may also invite friends and family to come alongside you to aid your recovery.
Your doctor may recommend taking antidepressants to help you stop hoarding clutter. Many people have deep emotional attachments to whatever it is that they hoard, so much so that the thought of clearing out the clutter can be a frightening and depressing thought. You might also experience feelings of grief and loss. SSRIs can help you work through those emotions and weather the ups and downs of therapy.
If your hoarding problem is extreme—to the extent of creating unlivable conditions and causing severe depression—you may also want to consider checking into a psychiatric hospital. Psychiatric hospitals specialize in treating cognitive and emotional disorders such as hoarding. Even after you've been released, a psychiatric hospital can continue to help you stop hoarding clutter by scheduling therapeutic programs and medication.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!