• Supporting Clients

    Posted on December 14th, 2008

    Written by Jaimie


    Hoarding, is it a Mental Health Isssue? If so, now what???

    The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has a very great blog post regarding hoarding. I found it so very interesting, as hoarding is a very prevalent issue social workers face with working with the aging population. The NASW posting asked the audience a couple of questions. Is hoarding just a quirk? How have you dealt with it? And of course, the issue I am focusing on is, is hoarding a mental health issue?

    Here is the post from a NASW blog – Is Hoarding a Big Deal?

    After reading this post, I thought about a client I worked with a couple years ago. This women lived in an independent residential apartment building for seniors 55+. She was one of the first clients I had in my social work career. Here were my thoughts on hoarding.

    {I have always been very intrigued by all that affects the older adult population. Hoarding, seems to be yet another ailment that plagues this population’s homes and lives. I agree with many of the other comments classifying hoarding as a mental health issue. I had a client in the past, that I felt, defined herself through her belongings. By losing a belonging it was as though she was losing part of her own self, her own identity. I also felt that she was able to cope through the other losses in her life; death, physical disability, etc. by hoarding more and more items. She was particularly interested in garage sale findings. How I made sense of this particular client, of course, will not fit other older adults. But, I felt this helped me understand what she was experiencing, enabling me to clinically identify the underpinnings of her compulsive hoarding.}

    My question is, now what? If it is a mental health issue, how do we handle it differently? This was of categorizing the issue, of course, is apposed to a “quirk” or a style of living. Is there a drug to solve hoarding? Is there a treatment approach, similar to anxiety disorders? Can we use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

    This entry was posted on Sunday, December 14th, 2008 at 4:55 pm and is filed under Supporting Clients. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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