A disorder called compulsive hoarding implies a huge need for people to collect and store items, regardless of their purpose or actual value. These people will feel stressed if they have to give up any of their possessions, feeling the fear of separating from things they could need more ever, sometimes in the future.
A person who suffers from a compulsive hoarding disorder will turn his home into a warehouse, a real little fortress of unnecessary little things, old newspapers, cheap decoration, boxes, devices. Often, these houses are so stuffed, that it is even impossible to find a piece of furniture, a chair or a bed, and moving through the rooms is only possible by narrow passages between the accumulated properties. Under these conditions, hygiene is almost impossible. Hoarding often leads to other severe psychological and physical conditions of the person suffering from this disorder.
A compulsive hoarding disorder does not come from laziness
Compulsive hoarding can move from an average to a difficult state. Often, this can be a mild form seen as one’s person the bad habits, for example, never throwing a box of new shoes, or, keeping the favorite broken teacup. All this can’t have any significant impact on a man’s life. However, if you manage to accumulate so many things in a couple of years to block your home, the rooms lose their function, and you cannot maintain necessary hygiene conditions, it is very likely that you are in serious trouble.
Unfortunately, such people often isolate themselves from society, family, friends, not allowing anyone to approach his “valuables.” There are several reasons for this, the most common is the feeling of embarrassment, but also the fear that someone might be trying to force him to get rid of his possessions. Therefore, this person rather stays alone, in a bunch of unnecessary stuff, dirt, and dust, in absolute depression.
What do people with a compulsive hoarding disorder collect?
People attach for their possessions because they believe they’ll be needing them in the future, due to sentimental ties to material things, or feeling of safety is abundant. Hoarding people are different from collectors, who can have a lot of items, but neat and meaningful. There is no order in such a compulsive disorder. The person will collect old papers, newspapers, gifts, clothes, broken objects. Unfortunately, compulsive hoarders will not make a difference with food either, and it’s not strange to find leftovers and organic waste in the middle of the chaos.
Compulsive hoarding equally applies to people who collect pets, and keeping too many dogs, cats, birds. These people are not able to create a boundary between love and need, and the real possibilities to provide adequate living conditions to animals.
Conditions for human life in such space are at least tragic.
The first symptoms of compulsive hoarding
The early signs of this disorder are possible even in teenage days. And if they occur most frequently in elderly people, it is not related to the specific age. Triggers can exist in human nature, mental complex, genetics or stressful life situations. They are seen in the following:
– A compulsive hoarder will show a tendency to collect and buy things that he does not need.
– He will sentimentally bind to material wealth, regardless of whether it has some great value or not.
– When he needs to give up his property, the hoarder will feel worried and anxious.
– Whenever a person collects something, he has the feeling of saving it.
– These people are mostly indecisive, unorganized, prone to delays and ignoring the problems.
– Potential compulsive hoarder does not have a feeling for the functional space at all.
– He has a tendency to build a nest, a place where he will concentrate most of his properties.
– A person with this disorder will start into conflict with all who try to point out his problem.
How to help a person with this disorder?
The exact reason for compulsive hoarding is unknown. It can be a man’s character, genetic predisposition, or childhood trauma. Observations show that these people often suffered the enormous loss of life – the death of a family member, all personal belongings lost in fire, severe divorce, an accident and the like. Lonely people, especially elder, are more prone to accumulating possessions. They are prone to depression and the development of other compulsive disorders. Usually, do not want to cooperate and will never give up their belongings even at the cost of losing contact with the rest of the world.
If you notice the first symptoms of hoarding in person you care about, you need to react immediately. Urge to consult with an expert doctor. Assure him or her that things have no value and to get rid of them. Point them out that such an environment is full of dirt and is dangerous to health. Try to give a clear picture of the danger of being alone and rejected, because no one wants to spend time in a bunch of trash – no friends, family, grandchildren.
When one person who needs help accepts there is a problem, every kind of support is necessary. First, it is essential to make them arrange and to decide which part of the belongings they will reject. This is the most challenging step. It means that even those who live with disorder simply find no way to function.
New living space must bring new habits. Help create a pattern by which the compulsive hoarder will behave in the coming period. If this is a person who is very close to you, do not let it out of your sight, always check and never let him regain the collection.
Have patience. You need to know that people with compulsive hoarding disorder do nothing at all intentionally, they are not materialists, they do not want to go elsewhere, and certainly, their living space does not look so because they are lazy to clean it. This is a substantial mental puzzle that draws a lot of attention, work and professional help, to bring such a person back into the flows of ordinary social life.