Hoarding disorder is a severe mental health condition in which a person acquires many things and has trouble letting them go. It can be anything from a hobby or just general clutter that soon takes over the entire home. People who have a hoarding disorder often find themselves in dangerous situations in their homes because of the things they have collected over the years. Pests can come in because they’re attracted to the hoard, or the stuff can take up the entire home, making it hard to move around or risking collapse. When someone you love is a hoarder, it can be challenging, but it can be even harder to live with them. This article will look at how you can help a hoarder that you live with.
Finding a Self-Storage Facility
When someone you love has a hoarding disorder, it may be tough to find the space you need in the home for all of their things. While they may not want to get rid of their possessions for good, it could be a good idea to find self storage so they can move some of the items out of the home. This can make living arrangements safer and more tolerable for both of you.
Not Taking Possessions
It may be tempting to take everything at once and throw it out, but this can do more harm than good. Taking the items that your loved one hoards may eliminate some of the clutter. Still, it doesn’t help the underlying problem that started the hoarding problem and can severely impact your relationship. Some people even have severe emotional distress when their possessions are taken, which can cause even more of a wedge in your relationship.
Not Enabling Hoarding Disorder
While you can’t just stop someone from being a hoarder, you can stop enabling the behavior. Enabling the behavior is one of the ways that family and friends support the hoarding problem, and they may not even realize they’re doing it. For example, if your friend is a comic hoarder, you wouldn’t take them to a comic book convention to buy more comics. This also goes for birthdays. Please don’t go for the obvious gift and add it to their collection when thinking of gift ideas.
Educating Yourself on Hoarding Disorder
If you live with a hoarder, one of the most incredible things you can do to support their journey in a healthy way is to educate yourself. Hoarding is a severe mental disorder often stemming from unhealed trauma. Hoarders often go through feelings of fear, loneliness, and anxiety, and once you can understand those feelings, you can offer empathy and support. Being educated is a fantastic way to bring mental health into the home and help your loved one or friend feel better and overcome their hoarding problem.
Not Cleaning the Hoard for Them
While it may be tempting to come in and clean the whole house top to bottom, throwing things out along the way can hurt their progress more than help it. When you live with a hoarder, they need to learn to go through their items themselves and make independent decisions. Unfortunately, you can’t force the hoarder into treatment because it can all come back and be even worse than before. However, waiting for the right time and being encouraging will help them overcome the hoard, and you can be there to offer support.
Finding the Right Treatment for Hoarding Disorder
Taking the first step in receiving treatment for this mental disorder can seem like a huge hurdle to have to cross, but in the end, your loved one or friend will feel a weight lifted from them. Helping your loved one find treatment can be a scary thought for them, so be sure to offer as much emotional support as you can during this time. Overcoming hoarding disorder can take time, so be patient with them and know that even small victories are still victories.