For most of us, hoarding is a difficult thing to understand and accept. But for others it is a disease which should not be taken lightly. While it can be hard knowing how to deal with a friend or family member who is affected by hoarding disorder, we want to help show you where you can start. Like most disorders, providing compassion and understanding is paramount. Here at Clean Earth Restorations, we have extensive experience when it comes to helping families with a family member afflicted by hoarding. Our extensive training, our experience with these situations, and our sensitivity to those involved make us some of the top professionals in the San Diego county.
First, let's go over some key items that can help you understand how to provide the best support possible to someone who hoards.
Hoarding is a legitimate disorder, and is closely related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The disorder is typically backed by actual psychological components rooted to other issues. Hoarding behaviors can start at an early age, during teen years and sometimes even childhood. However, these behaviors tend to manifest and grow during adulthood.
When it comes to the psychology behind hoarding, it can go beyond the need to keep things, and can be more about the fear of getting rid of things. People with hoarding disorders might feel they need to keep an item for use in the future, and that discarding items can trigger intense anxieties. Some hoarders have been identified as perfectionists, and won't want to throw something away for the fear of making the wrong decision. Typically when someone is a compulsive hoarder, they fail to recognize the harmful habits they've developed, and rarely admit they hoard items. Additionally, these behaviors are not necessarily "controllable" by the hoarder either, which can require extensive practice and therapy to correct.
For many of us, it is hard to grasp and understand what we haven't experienced ourselves. However, learning and understanding the thought process of someone who has been afflicted by hoarding can better help us understand why these decisions are made. For a different point of view, take a look at this article from Time.