I Think My Adult Son Has a Hoarding Problem

13 October, 2019
Q Assalamu Alaykum.

My 30-year-old son has a hoarding problem where he just does not discard anything, even some of the things considered trash like plastic bottles, papers etc.

Could you please inform me how he can overcome this problem? Also, if you know any du'a for this, Jazak Allah.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

• Hoarding is generally considered part of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is also associated with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

• Encourage him to get counseling.

• You may want to ask him why he is keeping certain items. It will help you gain more insight into the problem.

• The most successful treatment for hoarding is cognitive behavioral therapy. Medications have also shown to be useful.

• Make du’aa’ for him.


As Salam Alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us. As you described your situation, your son may have a hoarding problem. I can imagine you are very concerned and not quite sure what to do. According to your question, you stated there are things he just does not discard. Some of the things are considered trash, such as plastic bottles, papers, and so forth.

Hoarding

Hoarders generally do not feel as if they are acting out of the ordinary. They see no issue with keeping nearly everything, even when piles of stuff build up. They can become quite upset when a family member or others try to clean up and discard apparent garbage. It can be quite frustrating and alarming.

I Think My Adult Son Has a Hoarding Problem - About Islam

On the other hand, could it be that your son is depressed and just does not care about picking up?

You may want to look at if this has this been a long-standing problem that has gotten worse. Has your son sought help for any type of mental health issue in the past?

Hoarding is generally considered part of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is also associated with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Indecisiveness and social withdrawal are also prominent features.

I would kindly suggest that insha’Allah, you learn as much as you can about hoarding. This will help you to better understand your son’s condition as well as how to help him.

Hoarding is a topic which in recent years has gained more attention. According to Psychology Today, there are some things that are common among people who hoard. They tend to be around the age of 50. They may have begun hoarding behaviors around the ages of 11 to 15. If you can recall his early childhood, perhaps you may remember some of the signs beginning around that age.

Hoarding can be related to trauma or traumatic event. Hoarding behavior serves as a coping mechanism.

Treatment can be challenging because your son may not feel that his hoarding behaviors are out of the ordinary, or that they are an issue. Encourage him to get counseling. You may even want to offer to go with him to show support.

Helping Your Son

I would kindly suggest that you sit down and talk with your son about hoarding in general. At first insha’Allah, you may want to mention that you see he has accumulated a lot of “stuff” and you are concerned it may be a health hazard as well as a sign that he may be experiencing anxiety or depression.

Point out that a lot of people suffer from hoarding and discuss with him what this means.

You may want to ask him why he is keeping certain items. For instance, if there’s a paper cup that has been around for a long time and he refuses to throw it out, you may wish to ask him why he is keeping it. Does it have some sentimental value to him? Does it provide a sense of security?

Depending on his answer to your questions, it may give you more insight into how to address the problem.


Check out this counseling video:


There are several things to keep in mind when trying to help your son.

Your son may have problems making decisions.

He may have difficulty organizing things, he may be a perfectionist and display excessive attachment to possessions.

He may not feel comfortable letting others touch or borrow the items in his home.

Lastly, your son may have limited or no social interaction with others.

All these possibilities may make intervention difficult. Insha’Allah, with patience, spending time talking with your son about the advantages in seeking help to address the hoarding, your efforts will prove successful.

Treatment & Healing

According to Psychology Today, the most successful treatment for hoarding is cognitive behavioral therapy. Medications have also shown to be useful.

Communication with educated information is important. Once your son understands that his behaviors maybe due to anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, he may be better able and willing to address them.

Making du’aa’s for your son will be a powerful part of his healing.  You may want to include these du’aa’s for your son on his behalf, or ask him to recite the following du\aa’s:

“O Allah, I hope for Your mercy. Do not leave me to myself even for the blinking of an eye (i.e. a moment). Correct all of my affairs for me. There is none worthy of worship but You.” (Abu Dawud 4/324, Ahmad 5/42. Al-Albani graded it as good in Sahih Abu Dawud 3/959.)

“There is no god except Allaah, the All-Mighty, the Forbearing; there is no god except Allaah, the Lord of the Mighty Throne; there is no god except Allaah, Lord of the heavens, Lord of the earth and Lord of the noble Throne.” (Al-Bukhari 8/154, Muslim 4/2092, )

We wish you both the best,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Why Are Muslims More Likely to Suffer From OCD?

OCD: The Ones Who Suffer Silently

Islamic Cure for OCD

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.