Signs of Hoarding in Loved Ones

A massive pile of books

Would you consider your loved one a pack rat? Trouble throwing away items, regardless of their value, is one of the telltale signs of hoarding. Hoarding can have serious consequences financially, physically, mentally and even emotionally. Hoarding negatively impacts an individual’s life by creating unlivable conditions due to the unnecessary clutter. Unfortunately, these problems are not usually addressed until disaster strikes. Here are some preventive tips to help you understand hoarding and how it can negatively impact your loved ones and their homes.


What is hoarding?

Hoarding is when an individual has a hard time parting with material possession, regardless of its value. Common hoarded items include newspapers, magazines, photographs, food, clothing, household supplies and more. There are numerous kinds of a hoarders and reasons why someone feels compelled to keep everything.


How can hoarding be dangerous?

Collecting unnecessary clutter may seem like a harmless hobby until it’s apparent that your loved one’s quality of life is diminishing. Hoarding often use every area of their home to store their compulsive finds. If their compulsive behavior isn’t addressed eventually their homes may be consider unlivable and even potentially dangerous. Living spaces become unfunctional and hoarders neglect necessary comforts such as heat or other appliances because they do not want to part with broken appliances.


The reality of hoarding is that the situation usually isn’t addressed until their homes are damaged. This is when the hoarding problem finally gets addressed.


Why do people hoard?

Understanding why a loved one is hoarding will help them begin to let go of some of the overwhelming clutter that surrounds them. Hoarding is sometimes rooted in anxiety and having to discard items that might be potentially useful or wanted in the future.


Hoarding also occurs when individuals hold a surplus of items for sentimental reasons. Hoarding is different than collecting, but of the emotional response associated with it. Collectors are proud of their displays while hoarders often feel ashamed or embarrassed by the items they’ve accumulated.


There are several disorders associated with hoarding including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, eating disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and numerous others.


Hire a professional cleaning service

The attachment that hoarders sometimes associate with their objects is what makes it hard to throw away. The sheer number of things they’ve collected over the year can be overwhelming, which is why having a professional step in and assist might be beneficial. A professional is able to approach the situation objectively and help hoarders overcome their urge to keep everything, regardless of its value or importance.


Often professionals do not get introduced into the hoarding situation after a home is damaged and is in need of repairs. Helping repair and renovate these homes takes an extensive amount of time. The costs associated with cleaning up these homes is often more expensive that what clients anticipate.


Seeking help

Every individual is different so involving medical professionals in helping your loved one is essential. For more resources on hoarding and how to seek out help visit:

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