Posts Tagged ‘hoarder’

Hoarding: When Too Much is Not Enough

October 31, 2014

Many people struggle to maintain cluttered or disorganized homes, but when someone compulsively collects items in a way that cause health problems or other difficulties for that individual or others in the home or neighborhood (or for pets), it is possible that the person is actually suffering for a mental health disorder. Hoarding seems to be linked with anxiety and difficulty making decisions. It can be effectively treated.

Hoarding sometimes gets mentioned in the news when people keep large groups of animals, but it is more common to hoard food or belongings. Hoarding is not well-known or well-studied at this time, and many people are too embarrassed to get help.

If you are worried about someone’s hoarding behaviors, it is not helpful to demand that they stop hoarding or to try to force them to give up their collections. Being exposed and forced to make changes is likely to be frightening and so shameful that they will be too overwhelmed and upset to take action. Instead, offer extra support and reassurance, and be sure to advocate for your own needs if you live with some whose collecting behaviors are making the environment unsafe or unsanitary.