Study May Show If Family Enables Hoarding

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TORONTO, Feb. 28 (UPI) — A Toronto researcher is recruiting 55 U.S. and Canadian families to look into whether people do things to make it easier for family members to hoard.

Martin Antony, chairman of the psychology department at Ryerson University, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. accommodation — the tendency for family members to do things that ultimately make it easier for hoarders to continue hoarding — is not unlike the enabling or co-dependent behavior seen in the loved ones of alcoholics and drug addicts.

Antony said examples of accommodation include:

— Tolerating continued acquisition and clutter in the home.

— Walking on eggshells at home for fear of disturbing the clutter.

— Avoiding conversations about hoarding.

— Providing reassurance in response to an individual’s concern about hoarding related behaviors.

— Socializing less at home because of the clutter.

Hoarding, a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, involves difficulty throwing things away, having a home cluttered with possessions, or buying or acquiring items that do not have an immediate use, Antony said.

Antony said the typical treatment for hoarding involves de-cluttering with the help of experts, along with cognitive behavior therapy, which requires radically altering the hoarder’s thinking about excessive collecting.

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