Excerpt from “Unpacking hoarding disorder ”

We all experience some level of attachment to our possessions. This can be for many reasons, whether it is about the enjoyment they provide, the social status they signify, the practicality of future use, or the memories that they inspire. It is normal for our possessions to reflect and inform our identity. However, for some individuals, attachment to material possessions can become problematic and impair their quality of life. This is when treatment for hoarding disorder may be helpful.

Hoarding disorder is defined by difficulty discarding material possessions, accompanied by frequent accumulation of possessions and cluttered, disorganised living spaces. As hoarding disorder is a new diagnosis, first presented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), working with clients with hoarding difficulties is an under-represented topic in many psychology training programs. It is important for psychologists to develop a working knowledge of hoarding disorder, because hoarding severely impacts individuals and the community, and may become a more frequent diagnosis due to broader sociocultural factors. This article aims to inform psychologists about our current understanding of hoarding disorder, and to introduce therapeutic techniques shown to be effective in treating hoarding.

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