Having a relative or friend with a hoarding disorder can be heartbreaking. Hoarding disorder can often pose a major health and safety risk to your loved one, leading to the potential for injury, death, or even the loss of their home due to condemnation or major damage to the home itself. With that said, you can do your best to help them and make sure that they have the support they need to combat hoarding disorder. If you want to help someone make a change in their lives, here are a few tips on how to help someone with a hoarding disorder.
Take time to understand what it is and how it affects your loved one.
It’s important to remember that hoarding disorder is a mental health issue. It can be easy to look at such an overwhelming mess and think to yourself, “I can’t imagine doing this to my home. Why don’t they just clean this up?” While hoarding disorder is still not quite understood due to it being such a new diagnosis and focus, those who have this disorder struggle with parting with items to such a degree that it affects their living conditions and ability to function normally. The thought of throwing out any items can cause great distress, regardless of the condition of the items in question. The more important first step to take is to better understand this disorder so that you can empathize with them and learn which treatment options might be the best fit for their needs.
If applicable, consider having an intervention for the individual.
Hoarding disorder can grow out of control quickly, and it can have far-reaching effects beyond the individual’s health or the health of their home. In some cases, those with hoarding disorder might be at risk of losing their home to the city, which can leave them homeless and in a worse condition than they currently are. If this is the case, you might want to consider an intervention. The first step might be looking for a junk removal service in your area. A junk removal business has the ability to haul away dumpsters full of clutter and unwanted items, including things like mattresses, appliances, scrap metal, and beyond. They have the hauling power to get rid of a host of unwanted junk from residential areas with ease, which gives you peace of mind knowing that you have professionals taking care of the mess.
You should also take some time to research therapists in the area who have experience working with people who have hoarding disorders. They’ll be equipped with the skills needed to not only target the hoarding issues but the trauma that might be lying underneath and triggering these symptoms. The more support someone has, the easier it will be to work through trauma and move forward more successfully.
Place a strong emphasis on continued therapy.
Intervention can be an excellent starting point to get someone’s house clean and guide them towards a healthier, happier lifestyle. However, this is not a disorder that can be treated in a day. Your friend or family member needs continued care via therapeutic modalities like cognitive behavioral therapy to work their trauma, develop better coping mechanisms, and learn how to let go of things they no longer need while also avoiding accumulating trash and new belongings. You could always help them look for help nearby and help them get to their appointments to support them through the process.
Hoarding disorder can be as distressing for the person as it is for the people who witness it. If you know someone who hoards, use the guide above to figure out how you can help them in their healing journey.