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List: Posted: 11/04/11
Chances are, we have all known a mild hoarder in our lives. Call them pack rats, clutter freaks, junk collectors, etc, there are always those who just can never throw anything away, or can never organize anything.
In recent years, there has been so much attention given to hoarding, there are now television shows based on such behavior (Hoarders on A&E) and appearances by hoarders on talk shows (Oprah, The View, etc). Hoarding is a serious condition that can get worse with time, and can affect all areas of a person's life. The following is a breakdown of what hoarding is, the symptoms of hoarding, and some ways to get help.
What is Hoarding?
Hoarding can be described as the compulsive purchasing, acquiring and saving of large amounts of a multitude of items or one single type of item. Hoarding is considered an obsessive-compulsive disorder and can be related to other mental illnesses, including depression, social anxiety, bipolar disorder and impulsive control disorder.
It is estimated that 2 percent of the population suffers from hoarding, but hoarders are such isolated individuals that the actual number may be much higher. Hoarding usually begins in childhood, but can be undetected until adulthood.
Symptoms of hoarding include:
Not throwing away disposable purchases such as newspapers, magazines, paper and plastic bags, boxes, household supplies, food, and clothing.
Severe anxiety about discarding possessions.
Impulsive and extreme purchasing of possessions (this can include animals).
Overwhelmed or embarrassed by possessions.
Anxious of other people touching possessions.
Functional problems such as loss of living space inside the home (no place to eat, sleep, or cook).
Hoarders generally experience shame and embarrassment about their behavior and typically live a very solitary life that keeps many people from ever entering their home. Although hoarding can cause a multitude of problems such as sanitation issues, financial issues and animal cruelty issues, the biggest impact of hoarding is on an individual's personal life.
Another type of hoarding relates to people who cannot differentiate or sort information correctly in their brain, such as the difference between trash and something of value. Since they cannot understand the difference between the two at their most basic level of functioning, this individual will not throw anything away, including rotting food, empty containers, dead animals and garbage. This can cause health problems for the hoarder and anyone else living in the home, as there is often an exposure to mold and other toxic substances.
Recovering From Hoarding
Hoarding is a serious illness that often requires psychological help from a psychiatrist or behavioral therapist. The good news is that hoarding is entirely treatable and former hoarders have gone on to lead normal lives.
As with other obsessive-compulsive disorders, there are a number of books available on the subject to help, but most psychologists have seen the greatest recovery success when a hoarder seeks counseling and group therapy of their own free will to discuss their affliction. There are online support groups that can help, as well. In addition, there are effective obsessive-compulsive medications that can help the brain's obsession with hoarding.
If you or a loved one is suffering from hoarding, the most important thing to remember is that treatment must be sought, regardless of the method eventually used. There is plenty of sympathetic help for hoarding, and resources that can help you and your family return to living a healthy, uncluttered life.
The physicians and staff at Broadlands Family Practice welcome you to our practice website! We are committed to delivering comprehensive, high-quality, personal care to our patients throughout the Northern Virginia region. Our practice is proud to have served the Ashburn and Brambleton communities since 2003. We are part of the Fairfax Family Practice Centers, which has provided quality family practice care to Northern Virginia since 1971. All of our physicians and our physician assistants are board certified and are dedicated to providing medical care which is specifically tailored to your needs and the needs of your family. Family medicine is the medical specialty that provides continuing and comprehensive healthcare for the individual and family. The scope of family practice encompasses all ages and genders, each organ system, and every disease entity.
Comprehensive Family Dentistry. Life is about choice. Everyone deserves a choice, especially when it comes to your own health care. The office of Dr. Ronald Ray believes the patient is in the drivers seat. Dr. Ray believes the patient needs information before treatment decisions can be reached. Recommendations are made by the doctors; but, decisions are made by the patients. This philosophy goes a long way towards lessening the anxiety of going to a new dentist. The office is particularly child friendly and several of their chair side assistants have a pediatric background. Prevention is the best medicine so their hygienists take the time to explain gum health and the benefits of fluoride. Patients also seem to like their new smile created by "white" fillings and veneers. When it is time to head to the dentist, go to Ronald Ray, D.D.S. in Ashburn, Virginia, the home of comprehensive family dentistry.
Sree Gogineni, MD, is an internist who practices in the Washington DC/Metro area. Her clinic, Capital Area Internal Medicine offers two locations: Vienna and Ashburn. With a goal of mentoring patients in dealing with day-to-day health issues, Dr. Gogineni blends modern technology and traditional medicine to practice preventive health care. She focuses on both mind and body as a way to help people become fit and happy. Dr. Gogineni believes strongly that by listening to her patients, she will hear and understand their concerns while helping them to achieve better health. A graduate of the prestigious Guntur Medical College in India, from which she graduated in 1994, Dr. Gogineni completed her internal medicine internship and residency at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Patients appreciate her warmth, dedication and high quality of care, as well as familiarity with other languages and customs (she speaks English, Hindi, and Telugu). She is board-certified in internal medicine and currently affiliated with Inova Fair Oaks Hospital and Inova Fairfax Hospital in Northern Virginia.
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