It was already known that hoarding behaviour is driven by a strong emotional connection with objects. But the new experimental findings, published online in the journal Behavior Therapy, show that for people who hoard this connection may be in part attributable to the vivid, positive memories associated with those objects.
In essence, for those with hoarding problems, individual items become an extension of a given memory, becoming a barrier to decluttering and hence exacerbating an individual's problems. Drawing on the new findings, the team behind the study hope that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for hoarding might be enhanced by training individuals to respond differently to those memories.
Problem - Individuals - Difficulty - Go - Possessions
Hoarding describes a problem where individuals have considerable difficulty letting go of possessions. Consequently, rooms can become so cluttered over time that living spaces becomes no longer usable for their intended purpose.
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, hoarding can be a mental health problem in its own right (known as 'hoarding disorder'). The clutter associated with hoarding can have profound negative effects on the lives of people living with the problem and those around them, particularly with respect to emotional and physical well-being, health and safety, and finances. The fire risks associated with clutter are also be of particular concern.
Researcher - Dr - Nick - Stewart - Psychologist
Lead researcher Dr Nick Stewart, who now works as a Clinical Psychologist at Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, explains: "People who hoard are often offered CBT to help them understand the thoughts and feelings associated with their saving and acquiring behaviours. This approach is very beneficial for some people, but not all. Our aim is to understand better the psychological factors that drive hoarding behaviour, to give us clues for how therapy for hoarding might be improved."
The researchers conducted structured interviews with 27 people with clinically-significant hoarding problems, and 28 without such difficulties...
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