You may be like what very well may be a considerable number of women and men across the country who wonder if they have an issue controlling clutter or whether they may have a hoarding problem or even actual hoarding disorder. In the final analysis, the only sure way to ascertain or confirm that you have hoarding disorder is to schedule an appointment with an experienced therapist or counselor who specializes in working with women and men afflicted with hoarding disorder.
There are some self-diagnostic tools that provide at least some level of assistance in trying to determine whether or not you might have hoarding disorder. One such self-test is provided here for your consideration.
Take the Hoarding Self-Test
Eileen Dacey has developed a self-test as a preliminary tool to ascertain whether or not it’s possible that a person might be afflicted with hoarding disorder. If you have concerns that you might be afflicted with hoarding disorder, consider this self-test yourself:
- I often purchase replacement items because I lose track of what I already have.
- I consistently run late to appointments and struggle to stay focused and on task because I can’t keep track of my stuff (including keys and other items).
- Past tips and tricks to achieve a more organized space have not helped and keeping my belongings organized is a continuous struggle for me.
- It’s hard to address my clutter when I’m feeling mentally and/or physically fatigued; my clutter problem might arise from a mental health issue (depression, anxiety) or some physical health issue.
- I am struggling to get a handle on my own stuff and I’m looking for ways to tackle the clutter.
- I have a strong sense of attachment to most of my possessions.
- I feel distressed when I think about decisions regarding what to keep and what to get rid of.
- I don’t invite people into my home because I do not want them to judge me or my residence.
- (In the case of possible animal hoarding) If I don’t rescue another stray cat or adopt another dog from the shelter, one more animal will be without a forever home.
If 1, 2, and 3 sound like you, you may be afflicted with chronic disorganization but not necessarily hoarding disorder.
If statements 4 and 5 resonate with you, you may be struggling with hoarding behavior but not necessarily hoarding disorder.
If statements 6, 7, and 8 sounds like you, you may have clinical hoarding disorder.
Finally, if statement 9 resonates with you, you might be struggling with animal hoarding.
Again, it’s important to stress that nothing takes the place of an appointment with a therapist or counselor if you have concerns about the potential for being afflicted with hoarding disorder.
Diagnosis of Hoarding Disorder
If you take this self-test or a similar one and conclude that it is possible you have hoarding disorder, the next step really is consulting with a professional as has been discussed a couple times previously in this article. The world-renowned Mayo Clinic provides some basic information about treatment for hoarding disorder.
People often don’t seek treatment for hoarding disorder in the first instance. In most cases, an individual seeks professional help for other issues. These include depression or anxiety. A determination that an individual also suffers from hoarding disorder may be made whilst an individual is seeking help for something else.
To help diagnose hoarding disorder, a mental health professional performs a psychological evaluation. In addition to questions about emotional well-being, you may be asked about a habit of acquiring and saving items, leading to a discussion of hoarding.
Your mental health professional may ask your permission to talk with relatives and friends. Pictures and videos of your living spaces and storage areas affected by clutter are often helpful. You also may be asked questions to find out if you have symptoms of other mental health disorders.
For diagnosis, your mental health professional may use the criteria for hoarding disorder listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Sessions with a mental health professional to ascertain whether you might be afflicted with hoarding disorder are completely confidential. The only exception is if you give your therapist or counselor specific permission to discuss your situation with someone else.
Finding a Therapist or Counselor
If you are not certain how to go about finding a therapist or counselor, contact your primary care physician. In the alternative, you can reach out to your local county health department where you can obtain a referral or recommendation of a therapist or counselor who works with individuals afflicted with hoarding disorder.
As an aside, if you face what you think is a hoarding situation at your home, you are not alone. The professionals at Eco Bear can assist in remediating and cleaning up your residence.