Explains hoarding, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

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This Information is provided by NHS Choices.

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What is hoarding?

Hoarding is considered to be a significant problem when:

  • the amount of clutter in the person's home is increasing
  • they bring in more things each day and discard very little
  • the amount of clutter interferes with everyday living – for example, they are unable to use the kitchen or bathroom and cannot access rooms

People with hoarding difficulties often experience obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which may or may not be directly connected to their clutter problem. Hoarding is also often associated with anxiety and depression.

Compulsive hoarding is challenging to treat because many people who hoard don’t see it as a problem, or have little awareness of their disorder and how it's impacting on their life.

However, it’s really important to encourage a hoarder to seek help, as their obsession can not only cause loneliness and mental health problems, but poses a health and safety risk, too. If not tackled, it is a problem that will most likely never go away.

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