How to help a hoarder

How to help a hoarder
20 Mar 2013

Compulsive hoarding behavior has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members. If you know someone who is a hoarder, here’s how to help:

  • Get them or relative to a doctor. People who hoard are not usually motivated to seek professional help as they do not recognize there is a problem. Getting them to a doctor may take some patience on your part.
     
  • As hard as it might be, you may also need to contact local authorities, such as police, fire, public health or animal welfare agencies, especially when health or safety is at stake.
     
  • In order to consider the possibility of treatment, the person may have to be reassured that no one will enter their house and throw things away without their permission.
     
  • Do not, under any circumstances, clean out the person’s things without their permission. This is devastating to the person and could provoke violence from some hoarders.
     
  • For a list of therapists who specialize in working with hoarders, please contact us

Sarah Buckwalter

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