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Hoarding is defined as letting accumulated items build up so far that the clutter causes disarray, unsanitary health conditions, and safety concerns. Recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder, it afflicts more than two percent of all adults in the United States.

Four Conditions That Define Hoarding Disorder

The homes of hoarders reveal a haphazard array of items piled up or scattered about without regard to value or use. This happens because hoarders are suffering from the following problems:
  1. Inability to make rational decisions about what to keep and what to part with.
  2. Feeling emotionally upset when thinking about any item’s disposal.
  3. A buildup of possessions, resulting in cluttered living areas and an inability to access certain appliances, furniture or facilities.
  4. An increase in difficulties in everyday functioning or in social life.
In determining whether a person truly fits the classification as a hoarder, it is important to address or rule out the possibility that the extreme disarray occurred as a result of another medical problem, such as depression or physical disability.

How to Deal With Hoarding

Hoarders respond best to behavioral therapy that allows them to practice making good decisions regarding acquiring, saving and discarding possessions. Self-help groups provide a supportive atmosphere in which to grow. Psychiatric counselors also have shown success working with hoarders on an individual basis. Both self-help groups and individual counselors provide lists of questions for hoarders to ask themselves before they make a purchase or decide what to keep.

Expert Help Is Available to Tampa Area Residents

If you are in or near Tampa, Florida and need help clearing out a home due to a hoarding situation, expert help is available. To learn more, click here or call ServiceMaster. In Hillsborough County, call 813-603-2001. If you are in Pasco or Pinellas County, call 727-300-3773.