How To Help A Chronic Hoarder
Hoarding Disorder often affects more than just the patient. Friends and family who are pushed away because of social anxiety, who feel uncomfortable or endangered by the unsanitary conditions, or who are emotionally burdened by the danger their loved one is in often feel daily sorrow and anxiety over this chronic condition.
For all of these reasons, they may feel that making the unilateral decision to call in a junk removal service is the best option. However, this is rarely effective and often makes the situation worse. After such an event, the patient may become even more deeply anxious, hoard more quickly and vigorously, resist treatment more stubbornly, and may even cut ties with the family and friends who are trying to help.
A much better solution is to work toward changing the problem and not just the symptoms. Although this takes time and effort, the potential of a cure instead of a forced and short-lived remission is worth the effort. If you have a loved one who needs help, we encourage you to call us after attempting the following process.
- Family Therapy
Before you confront the hoarder, it’s important that you and your family be educated through family therapy. During this stage of the process, you will learn the reasons behind the hoarder’s actions, begin to see it as a mental illness, confront and deal with your own hurt and anger stemming from the problem, and learn how to gently and patiently deal with the hoarder.
During therapy, you will also learn how and when to stage an intervention, which is family meeting during which you gently confront the hoarder about the problem as a group and encourage therapy. The objectives of an intervention are three-fold:
◦ to force the hoarder to face the fact that he or she has a problem
◦ to give the hoarder an assurance that her or she has the help and support of the group
◦ to get the hoarder to agree to a therapy session.
After the patient agrees to therapy, it’s imperative that you get them there quickly. It’s usually best to have the appointment set in advance so there are no delays during which the hoarder could change his or her mind.
- Cognative & Behavioral Therapy
At its root, Hoarding Disorder is a set of thoughts and beliefs manifesting themselves in actions. For lasting change to happen, you cannot simply clean the house – you must change the hoarder’s thinking. Cognative and Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps the hoarder identify the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that lead to hoarding and how accumulating items is not the solution. The hoarder will also learn how his or her actions negatively impact himself and those around him, and learn to slowly face the fear of giving up possessions.
- Treatment of Comorbid Conditions
Depression, anxiety, OCD, and other conditions may exist alongside Hoarding Disorder and make it more difficult for the patient to work through his problems. By treating these conditions, a therapist and physician can work together to pave the way for more effective treatment.
In the last stage of the process, the patient finally agrees to clean the house of his or her own volition. This is the point at which you should contact a qualified junk removal service, such as Go Junk Free, immediately. Once the house is clean, it is easier to keep the patient from relapsing and you have solved the immediate health issues associated with hoarding.
When helping a hoarder through therapy, it’s important to already have a list of junk removal experts upon which to call when the patient gives permission to clean the house. Go Junk Free America! is one of the best choices in the Greater Los Angeles area, with recognized expertise (including two appearances on Hoarding: Buried Alive), fair rates, a dedication to excellence, and a commitment to the environment.
For questions related to whole-house cleaning, how we identify and preserve important documents and sentimental items during the removal process, or about our past experiences helping chronic hoarders win a new future,
Call us at 1-877-465-8653!
Go Junk Free is proud to serve Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and San Bernardino counties, including the communities of Los Angeles, Burbank, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Marina Del Rey, Brentwood, Hancock Park, Glendale, Culver City, Belair, West Hollywood, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Universal City, Encino, Inglewood, North Hills, Valley Village, Reseda, Tarzana, and the surrounding areas.