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We've all seen the programmes on television about hoarders and people that can’t bear to part with old possessions, but while these shows are intended for entertainment purposes, it’s important to remember that compulsive hoarding is a very real mental illness.
Often beginning at a young age, then becoming more severe as the person moves towards adulthood, hoarding is not necessarily motivated by wanting to keep items; rather it is the fear of parting with their possessions. The idea of throwing away the possession triggers a feeling of angst and therefore makes it difficult for the person to commit to losing it. The disorder often exists alongside other mental health issues such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder; however it is not strictly tied to these illnesses.
In extreme cases hoarding can be a health and safety hazard. Obviously it is dangerous in terms of tripping over, or objects falling, but excess clutter can attract insects and rodents. This report highlights the danger that hoarding causes in terms of fire safety. If a fire was to break out in one of these homes, the fire service would have difficulty in accessing the building. Amazingly, a 2009 study found that 24 percent of all preventable house fires in Melbourne, Australia were not prevented due to hoarding. The problem is not uncommon as around 1 million people in the U.S. are reported sufferers.
Diary of a Hoarder
We stumbled across this fascinating blog written by a compulsive hoarder, documenting her struggle to overcome the illness and completely remove the junk and clutter from her house. She wants to do this so she can, in her words, “live in normality, in a stress-free environment without constantly climbing over, and falling over, junk”. It is definitely worth a read if you’d like to get an insight into what hoarders go through when trying to change their situation. According to Psych Central, for compulsive hoarding behaviour, the preferred treatment would be Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, where a trained professional will help the individual de-clutter their life one stage at a time.
Need Practical Help?
We come across a lot of properties where houses have been left full of clutter, possibly due to a relocation or abandonment. The practicalities of moving items out of properties are difficult, which is where Clearance and Cleanup come in. If you need help moving out unwanted belongings, or are unable to face overwhelming removals, be sure to get in touch.