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Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition characterized by persistent difficulty parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.

What is Hoarding?

Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition characterized by persistent difficulty parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. Individuals with hoarding disorder experience intense distress at the thought of discarding items, leading to the accumulation of a significant number of possessions, often to the point where living spaces become cluttered and compromised in functionality. The condition can have a profound impact on an individual’s daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.

Hoarding goes beyond mere collecting or saving items with sentimental value. Those with hoarding disorder may accumulate items that most people would consider useless or disposable, such as newspapers, old packaging, or broken items. The excessive clutter can create hazardous living conditions, affecting physical health and safety.

The exact causes of hoarding are not fully understood, but factors such as genetics, brain functioning, and life experiences may contribute to its development. It can often be more pronounced in older age, but it can manifest at any stage of life.

Treatment for Hoarding

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

 At Light On Anxiety, our specialized therapists are trained to use CBT to help individuals with hoarding behaviors overcome their challenges and improve their quality of life.

CBT for hoarding disorder entails:

  • Learning to identify and challenge unhelpful beliefs and thought patterns related to acquiring and saving possessions.
  • Developing healthier decision-making skills.
  • Confronting fears of discarding items.
  • Learning to tolerate distress and resist the urge to engage in compulsive acquiring or saving behaviors.

Through compassionate support and evidence-based techniques, we empower our clients to declutter their living spaces, reduce their hoarding behaviors, and regain a sense of control and peace in their homes.


Medication can be a helpful adjunct to therapy in the treatment of hoarding disorder, particularly for individuals with moderate to severe symptoms or those who do not fully respond to therapy alone.

At Light On Anxiety, our team of psychiatric providers collaborates closely with clients to assess their unique needs and develop personalized medication regimens. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are commonly prescribed to target symptoms of anxiety and depression that may contribute to hoarding behaviors. Other medications may also be used in certain cases to address specific symptoms or provide additional support.

Our approach to medication management prioritizes safety, efficacy, and collaboration with clients to ensure they receive the most appropriate treatment for their symptoms while minimizing side effects.

Integrating CBT + Medication

A combined approach of CBT therapy and medication often provides the most comprehensive treatment for hoarding disorder. At Light On Anxiety, we offer integrated treatment plans that combine evidence-based therapy with medication management to address both the psychological and physiological aspects of hoarding behaviors.

Our therapists and psychiatric providers work closely together to tailor treatment plans to each individual’s needs and preferences.

  • Therapy helps clients develop skills to challenge their hoarding behaviors, address underlying emotional issues, and engage in exposure exercises.
  • Medication can provide additional support by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression and enhancing the effectiveness of therapy.

Through this combined approach, we empower our clients to overcome hoarding behaviors, create more functional living spaces, and improve their overall well-being and quality of life.

Your Unique Path to Freedom From Hoarding 

Our goal is to create a treatment plan that aligns with your needs and preferences, recognizing that each individual’s journey is unique.

What are the symptoms of Hoarding?

Symptoms of hoarding include:

  • Persistent difficulty letting go of possessions, regardless of their value, leading to a significant accumulation of items.
  • Living spaces are excessively cluttered and compromised in functionality, making it challenging to use rooms for their intended purposes.
  • Individuals with hoarding disorder experience significant distress or impairment related to the clutter and difficulty discarding possessions.
  • Strong urges to save items and avoid discarding them, even if they have little or no practical value.
  • Hoarding interferes with daily activities, leading to difficulties in maintaining a safe, clean living environment and impacting overall well-being.
  • Hoarding can lead to social withdrawal and isolation, as individuals may be embarrassed about the clutter and avoid inviting others into their living spaces.
  • Accumulation of items can pose health and safety risks, including fire hazards, pest infestations, and increased difficulty in navigating the living space.
  • Strong emotional attachments to possessions, often attributing human-like qualities to items, making it harder to part with them.

FAQs about Hoarding

Hoarding is considered a mental health disorder. Specifically, it is recognized as a distinct disorder called hoarding disorder.

There is some evidence suggesting a genetic component in hoarding disorder, but it is not solely hereditary. Both genetic and environmental factors likely contribute to the development of hoarding tendencies.

Hoarding tendencies can become more pronounced with age, but it’s not universal. The severity of hoarding symptoms varies among individuals, and other factors, such as life experiences and stressors, also play a role.

Ceasing to enable a hoarder involves setting boundaries, promoting professional help, and maintaining supportive communication. Clearly express concerns about clutter, refrain from contributing to enabling behaviors, and encourage the hoarder to seek therapy to address underlying issues. Educate yourself, collaborate with mental health professionals, and seek support for yourself to navigate the challenges of dealing with hoarding while fostering an environment that encourages lasting change.

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Learn more about how we can create a custom individual treatment plan to fit your goals.

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