From the Sage Minder
SEP 01, 2017 by PAUL MARVEL
Hoarding is a complex disorder that is not yet fully understood by the Mental Health Profession. It is compulsive shopping, acquiring, searching and saving of objects which leads to dysfunction, health, and safety issues in the home.
Elderly people may say they compulsively collect all that "stuff" because they believe that an item will be useful or valuable in the future. Or they may claim things are unique, hold sentimental value, or are irreplaceable. Sometimes, the explanation is related to finding "deals" even if the deal is for something they don't need or want. But regardless of the claims, the compulsive collection of items is really a disorder that can have serious consequences.
The most common items to hoard are newspapers, clothing, and books. Although research is relatively new it has been found that this behavior is more likely to affect those with a family history of hoarding. Hoarding can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race, and economic or educational status. Some believe that hoarding is a reactionary psychological problem caused by feelings of scarcity. But, researchers today have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause.
Because hoarders are reluctant to seek treatment it is not clear how common hoarding is. Some of the risk factors that researchers have found:
How do you tell if someone is becoming a hoarder? Hoarding is different from cluttering and collecting. Hoarders will save random items from their daily lives and store them haphazardly. Throwing things away, selling, giving away, or even recycling is very difficult for people who hoard. With a hoarding disorder their collections will interfere with life. Some symptoms and behaviors to watch for:
Since hoarders become so emotionally attached they are unable to distinguish what is trash and what is not. Keeping all of their hoards feels right to the hoarder in spite of safety and health consequences. Hoarding can develop without any other symptoms of another disorder but it is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression. Hoarding in its worst form can be a great health and safety risk or lead to tragedies we have seen in the news. To name a few of the hazards: fire, health problems due to infestations, injuries due to falling over the clutter, structural damage to the home.
So how do you address this with a loved one? Not realizing the seriousness of hoarding is common among people who hoard therefore making it a tough conversation. Attempts to help organize usually end up just moving possessions from one location to another.
Since hoarding is being connected to emotional and mental health issues like OCD, depression, and anxiety, seeking professional help may be the only viable course of action. The starting point is tough; after the hoarder acknowledges the problem they must get past their isolation issues and embarrassment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often sought and will pinpoint the thought process that has caused the hoarding. Group Therapy for hoarding also shows promise. Therapy is often combined with medications. Recovery can take months or even years to overcome.
Here are some tips to help a hoarder conquer their clutter:
The best chance of overcoming a hoarding problem is to catch it in its early stages. While aging does not necessarily make the disorder worse, age and time will make the sheer volume of stuff bigger - the longer it goes on! Hoarding is not about being a sloppy or lazy person. It is about a deeper emotional problem and immediate attention can help nip it before it becomes a serious issue.
At Bio-One Raleigh and Raleigh Hoarding, we understand the challenge in working with a loved one to reclaim their living conditions and life. We are here to help. Please call us for a no obligation consultation and accurate estimate.
Bio-One Raleigh and Raleigh Hoarding is owned by Karen & Rick Jacobs. We offer trauma, mold and hoarding cleanup services including biohazard, blood cleanup, suicide/homicide, feces & bodily fluid, animal waste, undiscovered death, and mold testing & remediation.
We proudly serve North Carolina’s Triangle & Triad areas including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Pittsboro, Holly Springs, Clayton, Carrboro, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Hillsborough, Mebane, Morrisville, Wake Forest, and Wendell; as well as the following counties; Wake County, Durham County, Cumberland County, Guilford County, Orange County, Chatham County, Harnett County, Johnston County, Nash County, Franklin County and Pill County. We also provide services to Greensboro and other areas throughout North Carolina/
Bio-One Inc. is the world's first crime scene cleaning franchise. Nationally respected and locally owned, Bio-One has earned its reputation through being trusted to handle the Mandalay Bay mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida in 2016, and consulted on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012. In 2019, Bio-One was once again included in the best and most comprehensive franchise ranking list – Entrepreneur Magazine.