Hoarding is a compulsive behavioral pattern. It’s portrayed by the excessive acquisition of large quantities of objects.
The act of removing any items from a someone’s home that struggles with hoarding, causes extreme anxiety and distress. In most cases people who struggle with saving and storing in excess, also suffer from tremendous anxiety, social disorders and depression or depressive episodes thus causing a vicious cycle.
The same as anyone who struggles with mental illness, there is no ‘on/off’ switch for hoarding tendencies. One cannot “simply snap out of it”. The act of hoarding in itself is an escape from trauma and reality.
Family, friends and sometimes neighbours of hoarders have the illusion that a large dump truck or skip can be arranged and have everything thrown away. Cold Turkey is not the answer for hoarders and can instigate a grave decline in mental and physical health to the point of suicidal thoughts and complete withdraw from loved ones. It is important to remember that hoarders have a deep emotional attachment to every time that they stockpile.
Signs of hoarding are distinguished by massive quantities of items strewn across floors and countertops causing severe day-to-day living impairments and as well as health and safety hazards. In extreme cases, belongings are stacked on top of each other completely hindering windows, doorways and up to the ceiling. In some cases, the behaviour begins in one area or room and progresses to the rest of the home.
Hoarding makes it impossible to use the home or specific area for its intended purpose. Any activities such as cooking, domestic duties such as sweeping, vacuuming, dusting and any kind of cleaning is unachievable. This leads to the infestation of vermin. Rats and other scavengers are a common occurrence in hoarder’s home. In hoarding levels 3 to 5, even sleeping is impaired.
Prevention is better than cure. The earlier the problem is noticed and addressed, the less likely it is to destroy an entire house and family.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a powerful tool in achieving lasting results.
An individual CAN recover from this obsessive-compulsive disorder with the support, understanding and encouragement of close friends and family.