Some hoarding situations are pretty obvious. Social services have to break a window to get in because of stuff piled up against the doors inside. Chaos reigns as they battle to reach the room where an elderly person lies bedridden. The neighbours gather in the street outside saying ‘if only we had known’.
They are not to blame of course: although if they knew the signs to watch for, they may have been able to do something sooner. Today we share hoarding diagnosis tips from 25 NEWS that you may find useful at some time in the future.
Hoarding Defined in Simple Terms
A person with hoarding disorder has difficulty throwing things away. The American Psychiatric Society thinks this may be because they believe the items have a future use. Somewhere between 2% and 5% of people in England and Wales are affected. The 2% is a proven fact, however researchers believe there are at least that many more.
Most hoarders have one or more of these symptoms
- Their living space is cluttered with things
- Hoarders have difficulty throwing these things away
- Therefore they move the piles around instead
- They have stacks of printed matter including junk mail
- Some hoarders also have difficulty making decisions
- They may withdraw and have no social interaction
- Hoarding people are possessive and protective
- They seem to have emotional attachment to their stuff
Why do some people hoard and not others?
Hoarding seems to run in families. People are more likely to hoard if they have a family member with the disorder. However, some brain injuries relate to hoarding as a secondary symptom. Moreover, hoarders have different brain neuro-psychological patterns compared to people with obsessive compulsive disorders.
Hoarding can start in the early teens, although it is commonest among the over-fifties. A traumatic event – such as losing a spouse or child – or a stressful life can trigger it, although the underlying signs were often there before.
Therefore, it is important to note that people don’t wake up one morning and decide to hoard. Hoarding happens to them. There is often little they can do about it without help from a skilled adviser.
Are there treatments for hoarding that work?
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help people discard unnecessary things with less emotional pain, by reducing their need to keep them. There are also medicines available that may ease the symptoms.
Questions to ask if you want to self-diagnose
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. What follows is for general information only and it may not apply to you.
- Do you have difficulty getting rid of things, even for recycling
- Do your possessions make it difficult to use some of your rooms
- Do you find yourself acquiring or buying things you don’t need
- Do you think these behaviours affect your daily functioning
- Does this go as far as impacting school, work or social life
- How do you feel about your answers: do they distress you at all
Things to Remember While Mulling Over This Information
There is nothing wrong with being a hoarder, although taking it too far may become a nuisance, and then more. Don’t ignore it; take advice from somebody who understands what is happening to you. Life is too short to become bogged down collecting thigs we don’t really need.