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June 1, 2012 at 10:33 am #3166LadySaurusRexMember
I have just fully accepted I have a hoarding disorder. I knew things were getting bad but never realized exactly how bad until I was given less than 30 days to move out of my 3 bedroom apt of the last 6 years (as the landlord decided to do massive renovations without telling the tenants of his plans). I managed to find a beautiful place within a week and then was faced with the massive task of moving. I looked at this as the fresh start I needed and while slowly moving into the new place over the last few weeks, managed to have 2 huge yardsales, donate over 20 bags and boxes to charity, took advantage of electronics recycling in my area, filled 2 Bagsters from the apt and yard, spending hours each night after work cleaning up….and still, by the last night I was there, ended up leaving many things behind in the chaos of the old place (which had a housewide rodent infestation, which my hoarding only made worse, but the damage and traces of them made it easier to part with a lot of things I would have otherwise had difficulty letting go of).
I feel I’ve been given a chance to start over (while still struggling with an overwhelming amount of guilt and shame of what I’ve had to confront head on for the past 3 weeks, mostly on my own). The purge was (and is) incredibly difficult though it also felt really good to take control and give myself some hope. I am now trying to go through what I DID move and get rid of even more now that the ball is rolling. However….
I am terrified of the thought of letting things get like that again, so I am looking for resources to address my problem, be they support groups, therapy, or simply tips on how to move forward (or what could send me into a tailspin). I work in Cambridge and live in Lowell, so am looking to see what is available locally.
Also, I already have an ADD disorder and am currently taking Adderall; this ordeal of moving gave me a very clear window into how the Adderall works on my brain, as when I was unmedicated, I was totally overwhelmed and paralyzed with indecision when faced with the monumental task in front of me, but as soon as the meds kicked in, I would just force myself to jump in and do SOMETHING. I don’t think I would have been able to do it at all without it. Has there has been any research linking ADD with hoarding behavior and what (if any) some of the potential medication therapies for treating the disorders in conjunction with one another?
Thank you for your time.June 23, 2012 at 7:29 am #3236jrasmussenMember
I’m really sorry to hear about your recent difficulties in moving out and having to part with a number of your possessions. This is an experience that many people with hoarding go through and it can be really tough. It’s great to hear that you are actively thinking about resources moving forward to help you with this problem and there is definite hope for feeling better.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for hoarding can be very helpful with examining beliefs surrounding the saving of and difficulties in parting with items. It can also help in identifying and tackling common issues that are often related to hoarding, including problems with sustaining attention, sorting and categorizing possessions and organizing items in your home. There are a number of individual therapists in the Boston area who provide CBT for hoarding, to find one go to the International OCD Foundation website under Find a Therapist, http://www.ocfoundation.org/treatment_providers.aspx
In answer to your questions about attention difficulties and hoarding symptoms, there has
been research to suggest that the two often co-occur.
I will defer to Dr. Jenike regarding the medication question as he has expertise in this area.
Best wishes going forward!
Jessica Rasmussen, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Fellow
OCD and Related Disorders Clinic
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Jenike’s response:
“In my experience, hoarding does not respond much to medication. CBT is the most effective approach. However, many hoarders get depressed and this gets in the way of treatment and cuts down enjoyment of life. The depression does seem to respond to antidepressants. Best wishes,
Michael Jenike, MD”
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