Hoarding is a mental disorder characterized by persistent difficulty or parting with possessions due to a perceived need to save them. Hoarders experience distress at the slightest thought of letting go of the collected items that result in dangerous living conditions that arise from malnutrition, poor personal hygiene, and dangerous living conditions. According to the American Psychiatric Association, hoarding occurs in about 6% of the population. Living with a hoarder can be exceedingly demanding since hoarding takes up space and time making it difficult to establish a relationship and spend time together. It may be tempting to clean up the hoarder, but like other psychological disorders, forcing someone to change is not often effective and may make the problem worse. There are various ways you can offer hoarder help without encroaching into their personal space.
- Examine Family Behavior
One of the first steps to offering hoarder help to a family member is to examine behaviors that reinforce hoarding behavior. If your loved one, for instance, collects magazines and newspapers, paying for monthly subscriptions of every issue reinforces the behavior allowing it to become a problem in the long-run. Family members accommodate these behaviors since they help in reducing arguments. The solution in such a case is to stop accommodation by calmly informing the person of the end of the subscriptions in a given time range.
- Seek Medical Treatment
Taking the first steps towards treatment for hoarders is a daunting task since many hoarders are in denials of their problem. Before seeking hoarder help for your loved one, you can embark on the Family-As-Motivators Training designed to assist family members to help their loved one with HD. The training helps in improving the well-being of family members and increases the likelihood of convincing their loved ones to seek medical help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a major treatment process used to help individuals the way they think and behave hence helping them change their hoarding behaviors.
- Do Not Clean Up
While it may seem too obvious that cleaning up after a hoarder could help them solve their problem, cleaning up does not address the emotional distress caused by the idea of losing valuable items. Throwing things away without their consent leads to frustrations causing the hoarder to revert back to their old behaviors. Hoarders need time to make independent decisions and this means waiting to intervene until the person asks for help. Even when the hoarder accepts to clean up, do not expect that the cleaning process will happen immediately. It will take time and professional hauling services to clear the house and the environment, making it safe and habitable by all family members.
- Listen to Your Loved One
Do not be judgmental towards your family members suffering from HD. Hoarding is a mental disorder like any other health ailment hence hoarders should be treated with love. Do not start an argument or confront hoarders over their behavior as this may result in frustrations and reinforcement of their behavior. Instead, start a calm discussion with them and listen without interrupting. This will help you understand their mindset and the logic behind their behavior. Your support and openness go a long way in encouraging your loved one to seek professional help than your judgment and confrontations.
Once your loved one gets the necessary help through skills training, medication, and cognitive behavioral therapy, it becomes easy to clean up. Junk-King Marin offers you hoarder help services in Marin County, CA to help restore hygiene in your household. Call us today on 1-888-888-5865 (JUNK) and schedule for junk hauling services or contact us on our website.