Hoarding disorder is a mental illness that makes it difficult for individuals to discard or let go of possessions, leading to an accumulation of clutter that can disrupt their normal daily lives. This disorder affects individuals differently, some may hoard items such as food and clothing, while others may hoard animals or trash. Hoarding disorder can lead to unsanitary living conditions, social isolation, and even health risks. In this blog, we will discuss four tips for overcoming hoarding and restoring mental balance.
#1 - Change Your Mind Around Professional Help
A mental health professional can help diagnose Hoarding Disorder and provide treatment options. Treatment may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used therapy that is effective in treating hoarding. CBT helps individuals recognize and change negative thinking patterns related to hoarding. It also helps individuals develop skills to manage stress, anxiety, and decision-making.
Regardless of the approach the professionals may suggest, don't think of it as something bad, or something that makes you weak. Seeking help is a sign of strength and shows that you are determined to overcome hoarding and improve your mental well-being.
#2 - Join a Support Group
Joining a support group can help overcome Hoarding Disorder. Support groups provide a safe environment where individuals can share experiences, and offer support and strategies for overcoming the condition together. In support groups, hoarders can also relate to others and learn mindfulness techniques that can help reduce anxiety and stress.
Here's a link to the International OCD Foundation, in the Hoarding Section, to find a support group in your area: Find a Hoarding Support Group
#3 - Start Small With the Cleanup Process
Hoarding did not develop overnight, and it can't be overcome overnight. It is essential to start small and set achievable goals. When embarking on the journey of overcoming hoarding, and deciding to clean up your home (or your loved one's home), we recommend the following:
- Start with one room at a time. This will help you stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Set realistic goals for decluttering each room. Use the technique of getting rid of 5 items per day or filling one trash bag per week.
- Sort items into three piles. Keep, donate/sell, and throw away. Be honest with yourself about what you truly need and use.
- Create a system. For organizing items, use labeled bins or shelves.
- Take breaks when needed. Don't push yourself too hard. This process can be emotionally taxing, so it's important to take care of your mental health during the cleanup process.
It is also crucial to remember that progress will not always be linear. There may be setbacks and moments of difficulty, but it's important to keep pushing forward and celebrating small victories along the way.
#4 - Seek Professional Help if Needed
While support groups can offer valuable guidance and support, hoarding is a complex mental health condition that may require professional help. Aside from the recommended assistance from a mental health professional, and these tips for overcoming hoarding, a cleanup or restoration company can tackle the dangers of the hoarded home.
Though it's usually ignored, hoarded homes pose many physical hazards that include:
- Mold and mildew growth
- Pests and insect infestation
- Structural damage from excessive weight of clutter
- Fire hazards due to blocked exits or overloaded electrical outlets
These risks can put the safety and well-being of both the hoarder and their family at risk. Therefore, it's important to seek professional help in extreme cases, especially when facing severe hoarding situations.
Bio-One of Oceanside Can Help
Seeking professional help, starting small, joining a support group, and getting professional cleaning assistance are four tips for overcoming hoarding and restoring mental balance. Make sure to share them with your loved ones, or try your best to apply them to your reality.
At Bio-One of Oceanside, we're here to help. Our professional cleaners are specialized in hoarding cleanup and can offer guidance and support. If you or someone you know is dealing with Hoarding Disorder, contact Bio-One of Oceanside for assistance. Our compassionate team is ready to help you restore your home and take the first step towards overcoming hoarding.