Having a family member suffering from compulsive hoarding disorder can be exhausting, anxious and unbearable. You may even feel incredibly important that the person you love cannot understand that it is a behavior that is harmful to their health and that they can be really very affected by all that behavior.

Helping someone hoarding disorder

You can generate a feeling of dissatisfaction by wanting to organize and arrange a living space, but if your family member is not willing to do it, you can end up in a continuous confrontation, which can ruin a healthy and harmonious coexistence.

Recognize hoarding disorder

However, hoarding disorder goes beyond clutter and disorganization. It is directed towards insecure, unstable and suddenly depressed or anxious behavior. It is a mental condition that takes over healthy and quick decision-making and can cause these symptoms:

  • They overestimate the importance of possessions, perceive the need to accumulate them, and then experience emotional distress when trying to get rid of them.
  • Accumulated clutter can block doors and stairs in your home, make it difficult to access rooms or make home repairs, and increase the risk of injuries, accidents or fires.
  • Dust, mold, and even insect or rodent infestations in the home can have serious health consequences.
  • In the case of animal hoarding, those implications extend to pets not having the space, food, or veterinary care they need to stay healthy.

How to know if the person is messy, a hoarder or a collector

  • Messy: These people are still comfortable inviting people over, having meetings, and so on. In general, their spaces are still accessible no matter how much disorder exists in each of them, and they can be used for their purpose, for example: the kitchen to eat.
  • Collector: now, when we talk about a collector, we are referring to a person who seeks a single thing with different characteristics as a goal and tends to proudly display each sample of it.
  • Hoarder: these people are the limit of the situation, the intensity with which they develop this behavior is so noticeable that there is no doubt. They can accumulate things regardless of their purpose.

How to talk to someone who suffers from this disorder

Now, people with this condition do not tend to see the seriousness of the matter. The best way is to speak from a positive side of things without imposition, at least to address the issue and be able to make the person feel more confident to start fixing the habits in their life. When addressing a person with this disease, try to be empathetic, kind and aware of their situation, do not act by minimizing the problem because it will only increase the family conflict and will not proceed with a solution. It is really worth focusing on situations such as safety for the person and that living in an unhealthy space is not good for your health.


  • Provide emotional support: Emotional support can make a difference in the recovery of a loved one with this disorder. Make sure you show understanding, patience and empathy towards the person affected.
  • Avoid judgment: It is important to avoid judging or criticizing the person for their behavior. Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition and not a conscious choice. Showing understanding and acceptance can help create an environment of trust and support.
  • Offer practical help: You can offer your help in organizing and cleaning the affected person’s space. However, it is important to respect their boundaries and not get rid of their belongings without their consent.
  • Encourages seeking treatment: Encourages the person to seek professional help. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for compulsive hoarding disorder. It can help the person change their thinking and behavior patterns related to hoarding.

Compulsive hoarding disorder deserves true importance in terms of the seriousness of its consequences, because it can be harmful to health, it is important to seek help from a professional as soon as possible and not act behind the back of the affected person because it will reduce the trust in your loved ones. Contact Us.

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