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Hoarding disorder is a serious mental illness that drives the person suffering to compulsively collect. Knowing the symptoms is the first step towards identifying a problem and creating a plan to help your loved one recover.
Compulsive hoarding occurs in individuals who experience a chronic obsession with keeping and acquiring their personal items, even at the expense of their own health. It is a mental illness that is often likened to OCD, and can be a result of trauma, depression, or anxiety.
OCD is classified as an anxiety disorder that comes with a variety of symptoms all its own. Hoarding, on the other hand, is generally considered to be a symptom of mental health issues like OCD, anxiety, PTSD, or depression. While hoarding and OCD do have some things in common, the main difference is that hoarding disorder is triggered specifically by collecting and discarding objects, and it usually causes interpersonal distress within the family of the person affected.
Hoarders can be extremely self-isolating as a means of protecting their collection from being disturbed by onlookers. Many also feel intense shame towards the condition of their homes and their inability to get organized. The most common characteristic that hoarders tend to share is disposophobia – the extreme distress that follows when tasked to throw something away. Because hoarding develops over a long period of time, many will avidly decline help when offered because they have become comfortable living amongst the clutter and disarray, and may not even be able to identify a problem at all.
Helping someone recover from a hoarding disorder takes time, and usually requires professional assistance. Treatment usually involves an ongoing process of helping people learn the problem-solving and prioritizing skills they need to work through their compulsions on their own. Simply barging in and throwing things away in order to start a clean slate won’t help, and the hoarder is likely to simply replace their collection. Since the issue developed overtime, it will also take time and patience to undo it.
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No two hoarders are alike. There are as many types of hoarding disorder as there are things to collect.
Contacting a professional is the best thing you can do to help your loved one get their life back on track. Hoarders911 provides compassionate hoarding cleaning services that can be custom tailored to your specific situation. There is nothing we haven’t seen, and we are always ready to provide a solution.
It’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with when trying to help a hoarder. Symptoms may vary, but they should never be confused for anything else. Getting in touch with a professional can help you determine exactly what’s going on and what you can do to help.
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