Hare To Organise

Hoarding Disorder Advice

What is Hoarding Disorder?

Hoarding Disorder is a pattern of behaviour where a person acquires and holds onto many items, even if the items are of very little value, and has difficulty getting rid of them. This behaviour can cause significant distress and disruption to a person’s life as it can lead to cluttered living spaces, problems with hygiene and difficulty functioning in daily life.

What Causes Hoarding Disorder

The exact cause of hoarding disorder is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors. Some studies have suggested that hoarding disorder may be inherited as it seems to run in families. Other research has identified possible brain abnormalities in people with hoarding behaviours, such as abnormal activity in certain areas of the brain involved in decision-making and problem-solving.

Psychological factors may also play a role in the development of hoarding disorder. People with hoarding disorder may have underlying mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) depression or anxiety, that contribute to their hoarding behaviour. They may also have difficulty with decision-making, problem-solving, and managing their emotions, which can contribute to the accumulation of clutter.

Hoarding disorder is a complex condition and the cause can vary from person to person.

Hoarding and ASD

People with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may be more prone to hoarding behaviour due to difficulties with social communication, interaction and flexibility, as well as a tendency to focus on a narrow range of interests. They may have a hard time making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of and may have an obsessive attachment to certain objects or routines. Hoarding may also be related to sensory issues, as people with ASD may find certain textures or smalls comforting and may have a hard time getting rid of items that have these qualities.

Hoarding and ADHD

People with ADHD may have difficulty organising and managing their possessions, which can lead to clutter and hoarding. Additionally, people with ADHD may tend to become easily distracted and may have difficulty making decisions, which can contribute to hoarding behaviour.

Hoarding and Depression

People with depression may feel a strong attachment to their possessions and may have difficulty making decisions about what to keep or throw away. Hoarding can be a coping mechanism for people with depression as it may provide a sense of control or comfort in a life that may feel overwhelming of meaningless.

Hoarding and Anxiety

People with anxiety may have a strong attachment to their possessions and may have difficulty in making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. The fear of making the wrong decision can become so overwhelming that possessions accumulate. Hoarding can be a coping mechanism which provides a sense of control or safety in a life that can feel uncertain or threatening.

Hoarding and Trauma

Hoarding may sometimes be associated with trauma, such as past abuse, neglect or loss. People who have experienced trauma may feel a sense of safety and security when they accumulate possessions and may feel anxious or distressed at the thought of getting rid of them. Hoarding may also be a coping mechanism for people who have experienced trauma as it may provide a sense of control in a life that has been marked by loss or instability.

Hoarding and Bereavement

Grief can be a difficult and overwhelming experience and hoarding can be a way for people to feel a sense of control and connection to their loved one. People who are grieving may feel a strong attachment to possessions that remind them of the person they have lost, and they may feel anxious at the thought of getting rid of these items. Hoarding can be a coping mechanism for people who are grieving as it may provide a sense of comfort and security at a time of great loss.


How to help someone who is Hoarding

If you are concerned about someone who is hoarding, it is important to approach the situation with compassion and understanding. Hoarding is a complex and multifaceted behaviour that can be difficult to change, and it is often associated with underlying issues such as anxiety, depression and trauma.

Here are some tips to consider:

1. Educate yourself about hoarding and the challenges that people who hoard may face.

2. Encourage the person to seek professional help. A good start is their GP. (You can take along the Hoarding Ice-Breaker Form to take along if it helps).

3. Offer your support and assistance (but don’t be offended if they decline- don’t force it).

4. Respect the person’s autonomy and decision-making abilities (this is about how they want to live, not your expectation).

5. Avoid judgment or criticism and focus on finding a solution that works for them.

6. Be patient and understanding. Change is difficult and may take time.

I was recommended to Natalie by a friend a long time ago.. I rang Natalie several times but I was really nervous about having someone in my house as I felt ashamed at all the mess that surrounded me. I eventually took the bull by the horns and thought I would go ahead. I am so glad I did I am now much happier! Natalie is very empathetic and non-judgemental and listened to my concerns

The value for money is amazing.  It is money well spent and I would recommend Natalie as she goes above and beyond. Gives tips and advice on how to keep the house in a clutter-free place! I would definitely use again!

Jayne, South Molton