How to Help a Hoarder...First, You Must Educate Yourself!
First, let us say, we are glad you found our site. We are a free database for people to find the help they need to effectively deal with a loved one affected by hoarding. First, since you may or may not be educated in hoarding let us go over some basics. Hoarding is simply defined as the collection of items in excess of what is needed in a normal household that interferes with the function of your home. It can be mild to severe, but typically only worsens as time goes on. Hoarding is often found in brilliant people, not always but the majority of cases we see are not uneducated but rather quite the opposite. We have assisted over 10,000 hoarders with 70% or more holding past or present careers such as engineers, professors, teachers, nurses, psychologists, etc. This is only important to mention because it makes the job for families that much harder. The hoarder is smart so very able to manipulate loved ones and hide this disorder for quite some time. There are also simply the elderly who just hold on to memories or lack the physical ability to remove items like they once could. There are many reasons for hoarding. Understand that your loved one most likely knows it is wrong, wants to stop, but is unable to control it. When you confront them, they will almost always become defensive and deny they have a problem. This is just human nature. When we are confronted with something we already feel guilty about, the quickest and easiest way out of it is to defend yourself or avoid talking about it all together. Please realize that there is usually an underlying psychological disorder or disorders that accompany hoarding. When a tragedy occurs, the hoarding can develop. Some common reasons people begin hoarding are:
- Depression (by far the most common and includes the next bullet item)
- Trauma (death, divorce, abuse, loss of some kind)
- Heredity (grew up in a hoarding home) and Genetics
- Fear of becoming poor
- Fear of forgetting (items hold memories)
- Perfectionists (until they find the perfect spot for something....)
- Don't want to be wasteful
- Brain Injuries/Stroke/Anneurysm
- To Push Others Away/Safety
- Kleptomania/Impulse Control
- And literally hundreds of other reasons we hear regularly.
Be sure to check out the Hoard No More Series if you are seriously interested in learning how best to help the hoarder in your life. This is the latest and most up to date information on how to learn everything about helping your loved one change their hoarding behaviors. Click this box to find out more information...
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The point we am trying to make is that "hoarders" are not simply too lazy to take out the trash. It is a complex disorder that needs much more than just a good house cleaning. You can't force someone to clean their hoarded home unless they face eviction or are cited by a city or state municipality. Besides, if you do clean a hoarders house without addressing the issue, they will just fill it up again. To truly stop someone from hoarding that has not sought help, they will need therapy/counseling, often medication to treat underllying conditions, a clean up of their residence, and good follow up care. If you are unable to find help in your area, we can assist you. We have not only a database of cleaning companies, but we can also refer you to counselors, therapists, support groups, etc. We can also answer many questions you may have.