How to Help Someone Struggling with a Hoarding Disorder

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MAR 23, 2021 by RAFAEL ALEMÁN  

There is a difference between being “messy”, “disorganized” and being a hoarder. For some people, keeping spaces in order can be challenging for their lifestyle and habits. Maybe work and other obligations come in place and sometimes, the expectation of living in a completely organized space seems a bit too far from reality.


Now, there is a line that, if crossed, it’s a sign that someone might be experiencing a hoarding situation. When the accumulation of items or the disorganization in the living space is so critical that it interferes with the ability of the person to function around it, there’s a problem.


Many people can accumulate things for many reasons, but these things don’t stop people from getting through the daily activities one should be able to perform in a house or living space. Experts agree that once safety and integrity are compromised in these areas, the person might be facing a hoarding disorder.

Common symptoms of someone struggling with a Hoarding Disorder

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A person struggling with Hoarding Disorder can’t seem to get rid of items that don’t have a crucial part in their lives. It’s more of an “emotional” feeling that is attached to these possessions. Cleveland Clinic listed the most common symptoms of a hoarding disorder, which  resume in:


  • The person is unable to get rid of items and possessions.
  • The thought of discarding items and possessions leads to severe stress and anxiety.
  • The person is unable to move around the living space, it’s impossible to function around the clutter and mess.
  • The person tends to distance themselves from others, even close family members.


You can also read about Hoarding: Common Symptoms and what you can do to rejuvenate your home! in one of our recent blog posts here.

What causes a Hoarding Disorder?

While there isn’t a specific reason that triggers a Hoarding Disorder, many doctors and specialists have identified the most common events that can be associated with this condition:


  • Traumatic life event: Coping with the sudden loss of a loved one can trigger a hoarding Disorder because the affected person is not capable of processing these traumatic events.
  • History of Mental conditions: People who have dealt with clinical depression, stress, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or Anxiety Disorder are most likely to suffer from Hoarding Disorder as well. 
  • Lack of self-control when purchasing items: Some people find it very hard to let buying opportunities (such as coupons, flyers, discount offers) pass by and it can lead to a compulsive buying/stocking, which ultimately leads to hoarding.


What can you do to help someone struggling with a Hoarding Disorder?

A person struggling with a Hoarding Disorder usually faces feelings of shame and embarrassment. The reality of not being able to function due to their own “created” chaos can be difficult, and they will most likely avoid asking for help.


That’s why it’s important to keep up with our loved ones: concerned family and friends are the ones who can help someone who’s struggling with hoarding. 


The diagnosis from a specialist or a mental health professional might be the first and most important step to getting life back on track. Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most common treatment to get through a Hoarding disorder. 


CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps patients suffering from a Hoarding Disorder gain a new perspective on what certain objects mean to their lives. It also helps treat other mental conditions like Depression and Anxiety because it allows patients to recognize the meaning of their thoughts and emotions. The ultimate goal is to channel them into a positive outlook.


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Bio-One is here for you!

If you feel that your life is out of control, if some of the symptoms we described resonate with your reality, know this: you are not alone. Let Bio-One help you. 


Our Team of Specialists at Bio-One of Oceanside are capable of getting a living space clean and decontaminated, with the compassion and understanding that a challenging situation like hoarding deserves.


If you find yourself in need of a hoarding cleanup, or if you know someone who has a hoarding disorder situation, give us a call Bio-One at 760-429-0729 and let us help you!   We are available 24/7, 365 days a year.


We are proud members of the Southern California Rental Housing Association and the Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Vista Chambers of Commerce!

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