Unlike collectors, whose items are usually arranged in neat organised manor and continually thin their collections, hoarders collections are wildly out of control or chaotic ie old newspapers, junk mail, carrier bags and plastic bags, out of date food items etc.
Other types of hoarders have animals, typically cats and dogs, sometimes may even keep dead animals that have passed away, purely because they cannot let them leave the house.
Hoarders can sometimes think that we are the problem, although hoarding can run alongside dementia , obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression. Experts believe it is a particular psychiatric disorder and best treated with intensive behaviour therapy and sometimes mediators.
Often hoarders will be resistant to change or deny that there is a problem. Unfortunately sometimes officials are brought in, in extreme cases which could mean eviction or removal of the entire hoard.
It is usually a lifelong problem that started in childhood and can magnify in age. Hoarders are usually compulsive collectors and are usually left in a vulnerable position or clearly very distressed when having to make decisions when parting with items. This is because the hoarder has emotional attachment or sentimental attachment to possessions that they feel are very much part of themselves.
Sometimes hoarders’ problems are made worse with the loss of a spouse, parent, child or friend. At times hoarders often repeat history as they come from parents who were themselves hoarders and hoarding can be a result of shock, bad health or perhaps not having much as a child.
As a result this secret society is starting to get more understanding through media and further knowledge. These people need to have their valuables valued, more empathy, hand holding and treated with respect and compassion.
We need to as a society be less judgemental and find more ways of helping and supporting these people.
Having worked with severe hoarders, Allyson and I have found these people, not only highly intelligent, warm and underneath very likeable personalities. We have been met with many tears, anger and fear, but have always ended with a great result, leaving our clients feeling self-worth, optimistic, appreciated and above all ‘a voice’. We leave with great satisfaction and well-being, knowing that we have made a difference. We are passionate about making a difference and our work and will continue to research and gain much knowledge to improve our skills when working with hoarders.
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