Hoarding disorder is a condition in which a person with it has an overwhelming difficulty to get rid of their possessions as they feel the need to save them. Quite a lot of people use the term incorrectly when they create emotional attachments to their possessions, but hoarding disorder is way more serious than simply having trouble parting with your high school t-shirt.

We’ve searched the web, and we analyzed this condition a bit, so we can lay out some of its most common causes and risks, and how to deal with some of them. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the magnitude of this condition, and how to help someone who’s dealing with it. So without further ado, let’s get straight to it.

What Causes Hoarding Disorder?

The first thing to keep in mind is that we still don’t fully understand all the reasons behind this condition. We can understand why the problem can persist with some individuals, and we can associate it with obsessive-compulsive disorder, hyperactivity, depression, and severe anxiety. Some studies show that hoarding disorder can even be caused by some eating disorders or even psychosis.

Trauma is one of the most common hoarding triggers. In 9 out of 10 cases hoarders have experienced some kind of trauma in their lives which pushed them into this state. It can be anything, from parents’ divorce to death of a loved one, and hoarders develop this disorder so they would compensate for the thing they are missing. This is especially the case with animal hoarders, as they completely substitute their actual real-life relationships with the love for the animals they gather.

Symptoms of Hoarding Disorder

One of the problems of hoarding is that this disorder evolves gradually. As the person who has it grows older, they start gathering things that are basically useless, and the longer it takes, it’s harder to treat this disorder. Most of the hoarders in the early stages of this disorder try to justify their behavior by acting like they are collectors, but that is not true in most of the cases. Collectors have a tendency to be very organized, with different categories for different items, and they usually have a full inventory of their collections. Hoarding is usually more cluttered, with no obvious system behind it.

Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of hoarding:

  • Excessive need to get new items, even though there is no need for them, or there’s no space to store them.

  • Growing difficulty to get rid of anything, regardless of its value or condition.

  • Clutter build-up which leads to completely unusable rooms and areas around the house.

  • Indecisiveness, avoidance, procrastination, perfectionism, and problems with organizing and planning are also very common traits with people suffering from hoarding disorder.

Health Risks

Hoarders and animal hoarders create very hazardous conditions in their immediate surroundings. With so many things or animals around, their homes become cluttered, filthy and quite dangerous. They represent both health and safety hazards to the people living there, but also to the surrounding areas.

With animal hoarders, health risks are even greater, as they can suffer from a number of animal-borne diseases. Fleas and ticks are just the top of the iceberg. There are numerous health risks from improper animal care, from inhalation problems to paralysis. General lack of sanitary conditions has a devastating effect on people’s immune systems, and it can even cause cardiovascular diseases.

Treatments and Help

As with the most compulsive behaviors, it’s always a challenge to treat hoarding, but some treatments have proven to be quite useful in this field. One of the most recommended treatments for hoarding is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It calls for professional help, and therapists help the person understand why they need to act in such a way and how to stop it. There are some medical treatments as well, with certain antidepressants, but it also calls for a professional therapist in order for a hoarder to fully grasp the problem.

When it comes to family, if your loved one is suffering from this disorder, the most important thing you can do is show support. You need to slowly and gradually reassure them that they need help. Explain to them that no one is going to come and throw their things away. Help them during the process of healing and throughout the therapy. Renting a Boomerangbox or two is a great idea to help your family member organize the really important possessions, and help them before local authorities have to take legal actions.

Wrapping It Up

Hoarding disorder is a serious condition, and it can be quite hard to fight it. Most of the hoarders tend to cut their social relationships, so it can be very challenging to get through to a person suffering from this condition. Hopefully, this article helped you understand how the world of a hoarder works, so you can focus on helping if it happens to someone you know.

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