Social prescribing returns patients to the community temporarily or permanently. Research has shown this improves their health and sense of wellbeing. The idea has taken root in NHS organizations in the UK.
That’s because it helps manage the rise in healthcare costs, and eases pressure on healthcare facilities. There’s evidence social prescribing could help relieve hoarders’ anxiety and depression too.
We Can Boost People’s Sense of Well Being with This Procedure
Encouraging self-help, as opposed to handing out costly medicines could help us come through possible post-brexit austerity, says Annie Riddle writing in Salisbury Journal. She cites research by the King’s Fund charity that suggests social prescribing could help relieve hoarders’ states of mind.
However, it’s not just jollying us along by telling us to join a gym or take up bowls Annie Riddle says. She is on the Salisbury Medical Centre patients’ panel so she speaks from personal experience and insights.
Social Prescribing Could Help Relieve Hoarders’ Negative Thoughts
Back in 2016 the British Medical Journal was sceptical. Favourable evidence in favour of social prescribing came from small trials that might have been open to preconceptions.
Since then there has been significant progress though, for example a successful social prescribing scheme in Hackney, London where community doctors take the lead.
The NHS has plans afoot to recruit a thousand link-workers across Britain. They will help connect prescribed patients with community groups, and statutory services able to deliver emotional and practical support. Suitable candidates could include:
1… Patients who are lonely and isolated as is common with many hoarders
2… People who have complex social needs affecting their well-being
3… Local residents who require support because of mental health disabilities
4… Compulsive hoarders with one or more of the above conditions diagnosed
Compulsive Hoarding Is a Listed Medical Condition with NHS Support
Hoarding disorder, to use the alternate name is typified by excessively collecting large quantities of things that clutter homes to the point rooms are no longer available for occupation. This can disable social functioning, and cause significant distress, anxiety and depression.
The affected person may retreat deeply into themselves, at the thought of having to give up a collection that is precious to them. Retiring into solitary silence may also keep them out of sight of neighbours, who might otherwise tip social welfare off
Compulsive Hoarding in the Context of Anxiety and Depression
Stressful life events such as the loss of a child or life partner for example may plunge the survivor into depression or anxiety. Hoarding may help suppress these feelings by creating a sense of doing something positive.
If social prescribing could help relieve hoarders’ anxiety and depression it follows it might have a positive impact on compulsive hoarding too. This is an encouraging step away from care homes towards finding ways to deliver social support without raising a hoarder’s greatest fear. This is separation from an accumulation they value so much and we should respect that.