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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Are You a Compulsive Hoarder?

Posted By: Advancing Care

Have you ever wondered if having a constantly cluttered home means you are a compulsive hoarder? According to Alexander Lerman, MD, Director of the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program, Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth): “The impulse to collect and to hold on to things that you don’t immediately need is a normal human behavior. Crossing that line from normal collecting to hoarding becomes a question of degrees. If you’re just kind of a pack rat, but you are not displaying a progression toward delusional ideas about why you are hoarding (such as compulsively collecting plastic wrapped food and guns because the end of the world is coming), or if you don’t feel an overwhelming need to collect with no idea why you do it — you probably won’t become a hoarder.”

More than 90% of hoarders have some sort of underlying mental illness, which can range from anxiety and depression to more serious disorders such as schizophrenia. Therefore, if you think someone you love is a hoarder, you should fight the urge to jump in by hiring a cleaning company. “Most people engaging in this compulsive behavior are lonely, sad, and feel badly about themselves. The rule of thumb is don’t do it alone. Find a professional therapist and seek support.”

To learn more about Behavioral Health Services visit www.wmchealthbh.org