How to Help a Hoarder

Via Senior News Minnesota:

Hoarding is a psychological disorder. Up to five percent of Americans are classified as hoarders. Hoarders suffer from a compulsion. Rather than being “messy”, they simply cannot bring themselves to get rid of the possessions consuming their homes.  So how do you recognize the signs of hoarding? And what can you do to find help?

Hoarding Warning Signs

Some people’s homes become so cluttered to the point where they are overwhelming to themselves or others. This can affect their family relationships, friendships, and daily stress levels.

Hoarding typically has three components:

  • Acquiring possessions compulsively
  • Constantly buying or collecting free things
  • Saving all these possessions and never discarding anything
  • Struggling to organize and maintain all the saved possessions

People who hoard keep things for the same reason as anyone else:

  • Sentimental: The hoarder has an emotional attachment to the items or saves them to remember an important life event.
  • Utility: The item is, or could be, useful.
  • Aesthetic: The item is considered to be attractive or beautiful.

However, hoarders also struggling with additional issues such as:

  • Compulsion: They often feel as though they need to accumulate these objects.
  • Anxiety: The thought of recycling or getting rid of these items brings about feelings of dread.
  • Disorganization: Even to a hoarder, the sheer number of belongings can be overwhelming. This often results in clutter and eventually causes stress and isolation.

Finding Help for Hoarders

Hoarding tendencies can vary in severity, but if you recognize more than one of the above symptoms in your loved one, seeking professional assistance is vital to moving forward.

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