Question: Do you have any particular advice for compulsive hoarders? The organizing books I have read don’t seem to understand the underlying anxiety that accompanies trying to discard of things. How do we deal with that aspect of it?
Answer 1: There has been a little research on treatment of this type of OCD. Hoarding is difficult to treat and not well understood but seems to respond to specific behavioral treatment. Continued near the bottom of this page.
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Answer 2: There is indeed considerable anxiety in trying to discard for those with hoarding problems. Take a look at the chapter on hoarding in Jenike, Baer and Minichiello’s 1998 book on OCD: OCD: Practical Management published by Mosby, Chicago. This clarifies this problems and offers some suggestions.
Answer 3: Anxiety accompanies all OCD symptoms, not just hoarding, and is dealt with via medications and exposure and response prevention treatments. It is never easy to overcome OCD symptoms because facing them temporarily increases anxiety.