Psychotherapy and medication are the primary modes of treatment for hoarding syndrome. With some people, medication is very effective, but to make sure that the syndrome is treated, psychotherapy is recommended. Psychotherapy also guarantees that hoarding habits won't get picked up and resurface at a later time.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Hoarding
Taking its foundation from the Cognitive Model of Emotional Response, cognitive behavior therapy has become very popular in the treatment of hoarding syndrome. Cognitive behavior therapy is centered on a person's feelings and what he does about these because a person's way of thinking can actually be altered. This type of therapy assists a person in retraining his brain so that the apprehension of doing away with all the clutter in his home is no longer felt. It also helps in focusing on the clean up of his life.
Home visits are periodically done by CBT therapists to promote healing in the long term and to make sure that old habits do not resurface. The therapy can be done on a one-on-one basis, but a hoarder also has the option to join group sessions. During group sessions, a hoarder would have assistance from fellow hoarders in exploring their common need of saving and keeping useless items. Decision–making skills are also improved at the same time.
The Two-Year Rule
Besides medication and/or therapy, implementing a two–year rule could assist in de-cluttering not only your house, but your life as well. This rule applies to clothes and linens and simply means that whichever of those items you haven't worn or used for the last two years must be discarded.
Shopping habits must also be checked and hoarders are advised not to engage in bulk buying. Things that are not needed urgently should also not be purchased. Money, along with home space, is wasted on these items because they are never put to use. Should the desire become too much to fight off, a hoarder is advised to go purchase the item on the condition that it will be returned the next day.
If a hoarder is a pet-loving kind of person, two to three pets should be the maximum allowable number for animal hoarders to keep and should exert the effort to keep these pets well groomed all the time.
Importance of Support
The support of family and friends becomes essential once a hoarder decides to begin de-cluttering his life and his house. These people can assist the hoarder in the healing process by physically helping the hoarder get rid of unneeded items, but more importantly, the moral support to the endeavor of the hoarder is more significant in such a way that the hoarder won't feel alone in facing his task of getting rid of the clutter.