Question: I come from a family that has exhibited hoarding behavior for 3 generations. My mother, brother and uncle all have houses that are impossible to enter. My siblings and I are at our wits end as to how to intervene and things are becoming monetarily complicated with so many properties in total disarray. Any suggestions on how to assist people in getting help? There is a lot of shame and my brother who is a doctor insists that nothing is wrong.
Answer 1: If you feel you have done everything you can to convince the hoarding family members that they have a problem and they still refuse help, then I suggest a new approach. Find a therapist who works with OCD, and make an appointment. Take along any other family members who feel that the hoarding is a problem and want to do something about it. The therapist should be able to advise you how to handle the situation. There may not be any easy answers, but there are often options available to you that you may not have considered. Good luck!. Continued near the bottom of this page.
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Answer 2: The only solutions which have been shown to be helpful are behavioral therapy (exposure and response prevention) and medication via antidepressants. A trained behavioral therapist can assist the hoarder in learning how to throw things away and not accumulate more. They may also be able to come to the house, or send a paraprofessional to help as well. If you relatives are uncooperative, or won’t accept that they have problems, there may not be much you can do. If they are motivated, there is much that can be done. Also see if you can get them some reading matter on OCD – this may help to wake them up to what is going on. Some sufferers feel so overwhelmed by all their junk that they just don’t know where to start. A helping hand such as yours may be what it takes to get them going, if they are open to it. Good luck! Best regards.