What Help Can I Get As A Hoarder?

Tuesday 21st December 2021

Alice Redshaw

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What help can I get as a hoarder?

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the items you’ve accumulated in your home? You’re not alone. Hoarding is believed to affect between two and six in 100 people of the population. It can begin in adolescence, but many people don’t seek support for the disorder until their 40s or older.

Some hoarders may need mental health support in order to help them deal with their hoarding issues. We’ve listed some sources below, and explained a little about what that might involve.

Here at ICE Cleaning, we never judge our clients. We pride ourselves on our discreet and sensitive service as we know how challenging tackling a hoarding problem can be. When you book our hoarder clean up service, you’ll be in full control - we’ll work with you to restore your home to its best.

What is hoarding?

Hoarding is a mental health issue. It can be considered a condition in its own right, or a symptom of another issue such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, or trauma.

Hoarders accumulate objects that most people regard as worthless - things like junk mail, plastic bags, or old magazines. They form connections to these belongings, seeing them as valuable or exquisite. They grow frightened at the thought of being without them, and cannot throw anything away.

Eventually, this hoarding tendency could present a danger to their health. Piles of objects might become a trip hazard or a fire hazard or could hide sharp or broken items within them. Hoarders’ bathrooms and kitchens might become inaccessible, so their hygiene and diet could suffer, too. If they don’t discard food, it can attract rodents or insects and require professional biohazard cleaning.

In time, many hoarders become ashamed of their clutter, so avoid socialising. Even when they feel they ought to clear their homes, they are overwhelmed at the prospect. They may start to feel guilty about the impact their habits have on their loved ones, too.

Fortunately, help is at hand. Several organisations offer support in tackling the underlying mental health issues that cause people to hoard. At ICE Cleaning, we offer sympathetic hoarder clean up and biohazard cleaning services.

Where can I get help?

If you feel able, talk to your GP. They should listen to you, be understanding, and refer you to a mental health team for specialist NHS therapy. Alternatively, you could find a private registered therapist yourself.

There are also several charities or non-profit organisations who can help. Some even fund biohazard cleaning or hoarder clean ups in your home, or might be able to point you in the direction of funding.

If you believe your hoarding is a symptom of OCD, you can turn to the charity OCD-UK for guidance. Their website is full of practical information and in-depth articles, and they also run a helpline.

Mind is another excellent mental health charity which offers advice on hoarding. Again, they have a helpline you can call.

There is also a national charity specifically for those who struggle with a hoarding disorder: Hoarding UK. They’ve got a lot of useful information online, or you can contact their helpline to discuss your unique situation.

Help for Hoarders is a collection of resources compiled by the relative of a hoarder, and includes a forum where you can chat with other people in your situation.

If the hoarding gets out of hand, then your local authority or housing association might intervene - severe hoarding counts as self-neglect, which could entitle you to adult social care support. And if your hoarding presents a public health hazard to your neighbours or wider community, then the environmental health team could get involved.

However, if you’re reading this, then it’s likely that you’ve identified the problem at an earlier stage and are taking steps to resolve it.

What treatments are available?

Treatments depend on the root cause of the hoarding behaviour.

If you are depressed, your GP can prescribe you medication if this is the right treatment for you. But there’s no specific medication to treat hoarding disorder currently. Instead, talking therapies are used.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is often effective. Your therapist will work with you to understand why you collect things and cannot throw them away. They might visit you in your home so they can get a better grasp of your situation.

Over the course of several sessions, you’ll work together on developing decision-making strategies, and learning how to overcome your urge to accumulate belongings.

Then you’ll draw up a plan of action, including a series of practical tasks aimed at tackling the clutter. Your therapist will support you, but it’s important that you take responsibility yourself.

Hoarding UK also runs several support groups, both in-person and online. It can be incredibly helpful to talk with people in the same position as you, sharing advice and offering moral support in a safe environment. So don’t feel ashamed or guilty if you would like to contact them.

Our hoarder clean up service

At ICE Cleaning, we know how important it is for hoarders to stay in control of their living environment. We won’t just march in and take over – we’ll work with you in a sympathetic manner, though you may well choose to be absent during the cleaning process.

Our technicians are trained in hoarding issues, and will treat you and your home with respect. They’re equipped with the right tools and products to clean and sanitise your home, making it a pleasant place to live once more.

We will carefully remove hoarded items from your home and dispose of them safely. Then our technicians will deep clean your house from top to bottom, decontaminating your living environment from harmful germs and neutralising unpleasant odours.

At the end of our service, we’ll use our ICE SHIELD® product to form a protective hygienic barrier over all surfaces and touchpoints. This uses electrostatic technology and is proven to kill bacteria and viruses for up to 28 days, including coronavirus.

To discuss your situation and get a free no-obligation quote for hoarder cleaning, contact us on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk now.

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