In part one of the two-part series on hoarding and the kind of issues a helper can face with dealing with hoarding, we covered risk to life and health, and the trust deficit issue among hoarders. In part two, we will go over the other important issues to watch out for when dealing with hoarders.
Dealing with Clean-up of Items that Carry Sentimental or Financial Value
There is no doubt that you will come across several roadblocks when dealing with a hoarder. Getting rid of items that are dangerous or of no value is one thing. Dealing with items that do carry an emotional or financial value such as collectibles, insurance policies, property papers, or jewelry can be a whole different ball game altogether. While the hoarder might be aware of the value that these items hold, they are mostly helpless when it comes to sorting things out in an orderly manner. The job of a professional in this case will be focused on sorting things out first, disposing of items that are unnecessary, and cataloging and restoring items that are of value to their former condition. Again, through each step of the way, maintaining an open and positive channel of communication definitely helps. The professional will not simply barge in and start disposing off items. Any sorting out and disposal will happen in collaboration and in keeping with the mental and emotional consent of the hoarder.
Social Isolation and Anxiety Disorder
If you know you are dealing with a hoarder, then you will also recognize their deep dislike for social interactions. Over a period of time, this dislike can turn into social isolation. The reason for this isolation is the fear of embarrassment and shame associated with their living conditions. They might be aware of the kind of dangers and risk their living conditions pose to outsiders and this also could lead to voluntary social isolation. When this happens, breaking through the self-imposed barriers and forming a connection can be extremely difficult. In cases where this is the case, professionals hoarding clean-up technicians will work closely with a helper to build a bond of trust prior to making any changes to the present living conditions.
Stressful or Tense Environments – Causes behind Hoarding Behavior
Often it is a traumatic event in the past that could have triggered a compulsive need to hoard everything in sight. Because of the social isolation, the unhealthy living conditions, and the stress of dealing with a mental condition all on their own, the life of a hoarder can be very tense and full of stress.
Again, the only way forward is to address the real triggers that lead to hoarding in the first place. If you can understand the triggers and reasons behind the hoarding tendency, dealing with someone who is a hoarder becomes easier. Remember, unless there is a clear understanding of the cause, finding a solution can be difficult.
Hoarding as a behavioral condition still needs a lot of exposure. The documentation for this condition is still largely minimal. However, hoarding is a real condition and it affects a number of people. If you are in contact with a hoarder or if you know of someone who needs help, seeking professional help could lead to a proper and much needed resolution for the person affected.