Hoarding is a classified medical health disorder. It can result in someone acquiring an excessive number of items and storing them in a chaotic manner, usually resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter. The items can be of little or no monetary value and in some cases cause wider community concerns.
Hoarding is considered a significant problem if:
- the amount of clutter interferes with everyday living – for example, the person is unable to use their kitchen or bathroom and cannot access room
- the clutter is causing significant distress or negatively affecting the quality of life of the person or their family – for example, they become upset if someone tries to clear the clutter and their relationship suffers.
Hoarding disorders are challenging to treat because many people who hoard frequently do not see it as a problem, or have little awareness of how it is affecting their life or the lives of others. Others do realise they have a problem but are reluctant to seek help because they feel extremely ashamed, humiliated or guilty about it.
It is really important to encourage a person who is hoarding to seek help as their difficulties discarding objects can cause loneliness and mental health problems and a health and safety risk. If not tackled, it is a problem that will probably never go away.
Dealing with hoarding issues is a very sensitive matter and often dealt with as a multi-agency approach with both internal and external partners. To report a concern please contact us.