Tuesday, September 5

How to recognize the symptoms of hoarding

What is and isn't normal? Learn to recognize this dangerous mental health condition.

Hoarding disorder: what is it?

An incapacity to part with some possessions to the point of unhealthy accumulation is the hallmark of hoarding disorder, a mental health illness.

Even though the goods being hoarded may seem insignificant to others—old clothing, boxes, documents, junk mail, or even expired food or trash—the individual hoarding the stuff is certain that they will come in handy at some point. The thought of leaving them behind is deeply upsetting. Over time, items accumulate in the house to create mountains of disorderly clutter that clog halls and rooms, hinder daily activities, and endanger safety.

Dr. Stephanie Collier, a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital, which is connected with Harvard, says, "There might be clutter blocking the stove so you can't prepare meals, or blocking the door so you can't get to work or get out in an emergency."

What makes someone hoard?
The etiology of hoarding disorder is unknown. Although it usually appears in adolescence, hoarding may also manifest in later life because of its correlation with certain mental health issues. These include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, dementia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Sometimes certain situations' characteristics lead to hoarding behavior.

People suffering from anxiety disorders, for instance, may worry excessively that they won't have enough of a specific item. They feel more in control when they have a larger supply, according to Dr. Collier. "There may be persistent notions in the minds of OCD sufferers concerning the quantity of stuff they need. Despite their desire not to, individuals are constantly driven to keep the items."

Additional examples: Individuals with ADHD may struggle to decide what should be thrown out first. Additionally, because they can't remember if they need certain things, like bills, people with cognitive impairment may be reluctant to part with them.

How to Spot Hoarding Indications
Hoarding disorder symptoms appear gradually, making it difficult to identify them until possessions start to pile up. Maybe all someone wants to do is stock up on supplies, after all. 

What distinguishes aberrant accumulation from normal accumulation?

Start by scanning for overkill. A stack of bills on the desk is acceptable, but if they are strewn all over the place and kept in boxes or bags, that is not usual. A few cases of water bottles in the garage are normal, but having more water than one could drink in a year is not normal.

Second, be aware of any impairment indicators, such as a loved one who is

losing sleep over things; finding it difficult to concentrate or make decisions; stumbling over clutter; keeping people out of the house (perhaps out of guilt); spending more time at home and isolating themselves from others.
Any of these signs, along with Ann's collection of possessions, suggest that she may be in the early stages of hoarding disorder in our tale. To be certain, though, a therapist's diagnosis is required.

What takes action
Be kind to those you suspect of hoarding. Ask kindly if the person is distressed by the number of possessions. If yes, are they interested in seeing a physician or therapist? Individual or group treatment might be helpful, according to Dr. Collier.

Since you might not be able to argue with your loved one about hoarding, Dr. Collier suggests that you speak with their doctor immediately if you have any suspicions regarding memory issues.

Nothing should be thrown away that isn't dangerous or creating issues. Your loved one may become more distressed if you remove them too soon. But you will need to make sure you dispose of the garbage every week, unclog any blocked passageways, and replace expired food with fresh.

Moreover, hoarders frequently misplace items. Acquire and stash extras for essential supplies. "Acquire extra items like spectacles or keys that are prone to being misplaced. Store them in a special drawer.

By taking these steps, you can enhance both your loved one's and your own quality of life by assisting them in managing their hoarding.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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