Thursday, June 20, 2024

How to Help: 5 Tips for Supporting Someone Who Has a Problem with Hoarding.

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( Worrying about someone who has a hoarding problem can be exhausting. Hoarding, in and of itself, is a mental disorder that must be addressed with a therapist to get to the root of the issue. As a friend or loved one observing the destructive behavior, you may be inclined to criticize it or offer to clean things up despite their objections. However, these responses can do far more harm than good. 

Most hoarders don’t realize they have a problem, but with the help of people like you, they can overcome whatever crisis brought them to this point. To ensure your good intentions lead to good results, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Don’t Force a Clean Up

Forcing a hoarder to get rid of their things can actually make the problem worse because, unfortunately, the root cause isn’t addressed simply by clearing out the hoard. 

As hard as it is, you must avoid the temptation to show up at your loved one’s door for a surprise cleanout. A professional rubbish removal service will absolutely be needed at some point. However, before you get to this point, it’s crucial to help them address the underlying issues triggering the hoarding behavior. 

Junk Removal

  1. Avoid Calling Their Things “Junk” or “Trash”

When talking to the person you’re worried about, use respectful language. Don’t call their things “junk” or “trash,” as this will offend them and make them less likely to talk to you about their problem. 

Instead, listen to what they have to say and let them know you’re willing to help if and when they are ready. Your loved one will see that you value their feelings and want to understand their perspective. This is a crucial step in developing the trust needed for them to feel comfortable asking you for help. 

  1. Focus on the Safety of the Hoarder

Few hoarders are happy living the way they do. Some might agree to a partial cleanout, but anyone that helps must be careful and patient. Focus on the safety of your loved one rather than a total cleanout. You may not be able to get rid of much, but if you’re able to move things around to make the home safer and more comfortable, that’s still good progress. 

  1. Don’t Be Offended if Your Loved One Resists

Most hoarders are ashamed of their living situations. They know their homes are messy or dirty, and because they know, they often don’t want their friends or family members to see how they live.

Don’t get offended if your loved one doesn’t want to invite you into their space. If you want to hang out with them, suggest meeting at a nearby restaurant or park, and avoid questioning them about their living situation while you’re there. 

  1. Think Twice About Giving Gifts

Sadly, giving physical gifts to a hoarder may only fuel the fire. The last thing your loved one needs is something else to add to the hoard. Instead, consider taking them out for a meal or a movie – anything that isn’t collectible. 

If you have given them gifts in the past, and they now feel the need to get rid of them as part of their recovery, don’t take offense. It’s a necessary step to leaving their hoarding behavior behind. 

Hoarding is a mental disorder that causes people to collect and hold onto things. It can lead to dangerous and unhealthy conditions, but if you know a hoarder, you can use the tips above to help them overcome their hoarding behavior.

Staff Writer; Lisa Love

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