Compulsive hoarding (or pathological collecting) is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by the excessive acquisition and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that would seemingly qualify as useless or without value. Compulsive hoarding behavior has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members. When clinically significant enough to impair functioning, hoarding can prevent typical uses of space so as to limit activities such as cooking, cleaning, moving through the house, and sleeping. It can also be dangerous if it puts the individual or others at risk for fire, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns.
Compulsive hoarding in its worst forms can cause fires, unclean conditions (e.g. rat and cockroach infestations), and injuries from tripping on clutter, and other health and safety hazards.
A few symptoms a hoarder might experience are:
1. Tend to hold onto a large number of items that most people would consider not useful or valuable. For example:
- Junk mail
- Old catalogs and newspapers
- Things that might be useful for making crafts
- Clothes that "might" be worn one day
- Broken things/rubbish
- Freebies picked up
2. The home is so cluttered that many parts are inaccessible and can no longer be used for intended purpose. For example:
- Beds that cannot be slept in
- Kitchens that cannot be cooked in, refrigerators filled to the brim with rotting food, stovetops with combustibles such as junk mail as well as old food piled on top of burners.
- Tables that cannot be used for dining
- Chairs or sofas that cannot be used
- Filthy insanitary bathrooms; piles of human feces collected in areas of the home, sometimes there are animal feces over the floors of the home, giant bags of dirty nappies hoarded for many years.
- Some hoard scores of animals they cannot even marginally care for; often dead pets cannibalised by other pets are found under the heaps.
3. The clutter and mess is so bad it causes illness, distress, and impairment. For example:
- Does not allow visitors such as family and friends, or repair and maintenance professionals because the clutter embarrasses them.
- Keep the shades drawn so no one can see inside
- Get into a lot of arguments with family members about the clutter
- Are at risk of fire, falling, infestation or eviction
- Feel depressed or anxious much of the time because of the clutter
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a commonly implemented therapeutic intervention for compulsive hoarding. As part of cognitive behavior therapy, you may:
- Discover why they are so compelled to hoard
- Learn to organize the possession to decide what to discard.
- Develop the decision-making skills
- Declutter the home during in-home visits by a therapist or professional organiser
- Gain and perform relaxation skill
- Attend family and/or group therapy
- Have periodic visits and consultations to keep a healthy lifestyle
Our aim is to combine de-clutting and organisational skills with therapeutic intervention to enable you to not only take charge but to also ensure the problem does not re-occur.
for more details and to book your first session please contact us on 0121 251 6172 or via email on the contact us page