People joke about hoarding quite often, but its no laughing matter. Hoarding is a serious psychological condition where a person cannot throw anything away. Things that have no value like old sandwiches, garbage, and other junk these people feel like they absolutely cannot live without.
Identifying a Hoarding Situation
Some things to look out for if you’re concerned a loved one might have a hoarding condition. Do they have problems letting go of items that have close to no value? Things like mail from years ago, rotted food in the fridge, multiple versions of the same thing that they don’t use; example: they have 15 identical hammers that they keep on their kitchen counter. Are there items, piles of materials that impede hallways, doorways? When you start to see piles of things like mail or clothing in their home that make it difficult to walk around, there might be a problem.
Treatment for Hoarders
There are currently 2 main treatments for hoarding; cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. With CBT, patients slowly learn to let go of worthless items without causing distress. This can take months, and even years to see long lasting results. Therapists have also attempted to use medication in conjunction with therapy to help with the anxiety of throwing things out.
Cleaning Up After Hoarders
The best thing to do if you’re trying to help a hoarder, is to take it seriously. This person needs professional help. Therapists have specialized in helping people with this type of condition for years now and can assist the patient with recovery. The reason why you want to leave treatment up to professionals is that hoarding is a mental condition caused by depression (among other things.)