Hoarding is a serious mental health disorder that has devastating effects for sufferers and their loved ones. An inability to dispose of possessions, coupled with a fervour for acquiring new items, often leads hoarders to live beyond their financial means and in filthy and unsafe conditions. Family and friends experience confusion, anger, disbelief, pain and helplessness as the disorder takes over, transforming the person they once knew. While a complete cure may not be in reach, there are strategies that will help you deal with the situation more effectively. There was a great episode of family hoarding on Keeping Up With The Kardashians in their latest season.
Read on for more information.
Upon entering your relative’s home, your first instinct will probably be to exclaim in disgust and disbelief at the sight before you. Resist the temptation to bombard the affected individual with negative sentiments regarding their mountains of belongings; it will only result in a defensive and aggressive response, and will certainly alienate you from them.
Along with passing judgement, getting into heated arguments is one of the worst things you can do when dealing with a hoarder. Firstly, you will never win. Secondly, you will further estrange yourself from the hoarder, effectively destroying any chance of trying to help them in the future.
Instead of negative confrontations, interact with your family member in an empathetic manner. Structure sentences in a way that shows that you care and that you want to help, without being overbearing or intrusive. Ask questions that will make the hoarder think about the reasons for their behaviour, as well as provide vital insight for you. This affirmative approach is bound to have better results.
The best way to convey genuine empathy is to actually understand the disorder. Online articles, blogs and videos, along with books, television shows and documentaries, have all covered the subject of hoarding, including the treatment process. By knowing what you are dealing with, you will be able to exercise more patience and recognise the signs for what they are.
Hoarding is not a behaviour that can be magically changed overnight. Instead, work on achieving small goals and always be willing to compromise. Start with the aim of removing one item per day, whether into the rubbish bin or into a storage facility. There are many affordable storage providers available; for more details click here. The key is to be perceived as operating as a team, and that involves plenty of negotiation.
Seek Professional Help
If you fear that your family member is living in increasingly dangerous conditions, it may be time to seek the assistance of a qualified professional. Treatment for hoarding is a long-term process and it is extremely easy for hoarders to suffer relapses; however, with the right support and management, hoarders can make real, positive changes to their lives.
Are you currently affected by hoarding? Do you have a story or experience to share? Comment in the box below to pass on any tips, advice or anecdotes.
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