Welcome back to Conquer the Clutter! Our blog provides information and recommendations based on Elaine’s 17 years of experience working exclusively with people who hoard, those who care about them, and the professionals trying to help who feel ill prepared.  Elaine’s suggestions have been developed through “hands-on” onsite work (wherever the hoarding occurs) as a Hoarding behavior and Intervention Specialist.

In this post, we’ll break down some of the basic concepts of Hoarding:

What is Hoarding Disorder?

Here is a thumbnail outline of the criteria for Hoarding Disorder (and all three must be present even to a minimal degree):

It also important to note that

In a situation that meets the standard for Hoarding Disorder, the only difference between an excessive accumulation of perceived valuable things and non-valuable things is the price tag on the items. The key factor is the excessive accumulation and the failure to resolve that excessive accumulation because of the risk it creates.

Conservative estimates indicate that over 21 million people suffer from Hoarding Disorder in North America today.

Types of Hoarding

There are three types of hoarding disorder:

1. Standardized hoarding, with three subtypes:

Indiscriminate Hoarding

Discriminate Hoarding

Source: Pixabay free image

Combined hoarding generally occurs when discriminate hoarding exceeds the person’s ability to manage desired items from the everyday clutter in their environment.

2. Diogenes Syndrome – is often found in our aging population and is hallmarked by two criteria:

3. Animal Hoarding – Accumulation of animals to the extent that there is:

Why is Hoarding More than a Mental Health Issue?

Effective May 2013, Hoarding became a discrete disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). It is however, more than a mental health issue.  Hoarding can also become a legal, personal, and public health and safety issue. Without identification and treatment, people living with Hoarding Disorder are at higher risk to experience further deterioration to both their mental health status as well as their living conditions.  Without hoarding-informed supportive interventions they can put themselves and others at risk.

Hoarding is widely acknowledged to be a compulsive behavior, so as it progresses, the following conditions can be created:

Hoarding versus Cluttering

Hoarding and cluttering are often used interchangeably. There are two differences:

1. Clutterers are more likely to discard things more easily.

2. Their clutter does not debilitate their lives to the same degree.

Here’s what we don’t know. Is cluttering really a stage in the life cycle of hoarding?

Every person who has clutter does not necessarily go on to hoard. But, in the 17 years Elaine has worked with those who hoard, every single person has told her that creating clutter was a starting point.

You decide. Is your clutter manageable?

In our next blog post, we’ll talk about some common misconceptions about hoarding and those who hoard.

This content was originally published here.


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