11 Jan 0
In the United States alone, there’s an estimated 6-15 MILLION hoarders (https://goo.gl/0cBpgZ). Hoarding is the result of collecting and saving possessions obsessively. Even items with little to no value are collected. Hoarders have a difficult time getting rid of items. They also have large amounts of clutter in their living spaces. They feel joy when adding items to their possession. And they feel a strong anxiety at the thought of getting rid of items.
Dealing with a hoarder can be frustrating, stressful and overwhelming mixed emotions. It’s a hard concept to grasp. There’s also no known medications to magically cure a hoarding disorder. A hoarder needs to want help to change before progress can be made. Luckily – for those who are looking to cure their hoarding disorder, there are many resources available in today’s age that can help to learn to let go of this “possession obsession”.
Hoarders vs. Collectors
We should start by defining that there’s a fine line between hoarding verses collecting items. Hoarders, for the sake of satisfying a will to collect possessions, collect and collect and collect… and collect “junk”. Anything from newspapers to, sadly, animals. Generally living spaces are filled with unorganized clutter. There’s no rhymer reason for most of the clutter or items obtained. It’s a compulsive buying behavior where no item can be passed up.
Collectors have a very different mindset. Collector items are often prized possessions that are prominently displayed and collectors are happy to show off their items. There may be many categories of items that a collector is interested in but it is generally limited to unique items of value and not any/everything that they can buy.
Hoarding and OCD, OCPD and ADHD
A few traits that have been commonly linked to hoarders are Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These disorders are probably more visible from a younger age before signs of hoarding become more prominent. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, those who suffer from OCD, OCPD and ADHD are more likely to become hoarders in their later years. Although hoarding can be a disorder that’s entirely developed on its own, those who suffer from OCD, OCPD and ADHD are more likely to become hoarders.
Quality of Life and Hoarding Effects
The effects of hoarding can cause tremendous strains on relationships as well as quality of life. It can quickly overtake living spaces and even create a dangerous environment for the hoarder and anyone who enters their home. It’s not uncommon to see a hoarders home packed with possessions literally up to the ceiling and small trails in between to access various areas in the home. Sadly, even those trails can become buried. Injury and even death have occurred from being buried in these possessions.
The logical solution, for one whom is not a hoarder, would be to have a cleaning day and get rid of clutter. However, this would not stop a hoarder from collecting and it would be just a matter of time before they were to accumulate just as many or more possessions as they once had. It can also cause a lot of tension, anger and resentment between you and the hoarder. Unfortunately, until a hoarder is willing to seek help, there is no way to “cure” them from hoarding. It’s a hard concept to grasp and can cause a lot of grief between family members or loved ones but hoarding is a disorder that only the hoarder can cure on their own will.
Treatment and Resources for Hoarding
When a hoarder is open to receiving help or ready to make a change, there are many resources that are readily available to help! Below is a list of resources that can provide support and mental health treatment for hoarders and those affected by them.
One of the most effective ways to help a hoarder is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. You should ask for referrals in your area to find a qualified therapist.
⦁ International OCD Foundation
⦁ Children of Hoarders
⦁ Hoarding Cleanup Companies
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