• Anne Mauro, LMFT, DHS

Washington State Hoarding Awareness Week!

There are two common questions that I am asked about hoarding disorder and I am here to give you the anneswer (get it? ANNEswer!) to those questions.

1)How does somebody get hoarding disorder?

There is evidence supporting the following factors:

Genetic Component-The likelihood of having hoarding disorder increases if you have a blood relative that hoards.

Learned Behavior-Hoarding tendencies can be learned by living with someone that hoards for a long period of time.

Brain Differences-There are studies showing differences in the occipital lobe, which is responsible for vision and prefrontal cortex, where our executive functioning takes place. This means there can be deficiencies in attention, the ability to prioritize tasks, organization, and task completion.

Trauma- 76% of people that hoard have experienced a traumatic life event. 55% of people started hoarding after a stressful life event.

2) How Can I Help Someone That Hoards:

Get Informed and Find Resources-There is a lot of inaccurate information out there. Find up to date information and local resources.

Clean Outs- What we now know that interventions such as clean outs are not effective and can cause a trauma response and worsen hoarding behaviors.

Compassion, Caring, Kindness, and Safety-People that hoard have a lot of shame associated with their behaviors and the condition of their living spaces. Approach them without judgement, with compassion, kindness, and a concern for the safety, and wellbeing.

People have the right to live the way they want to live- You cannot force someone to make changes if they are not ready or willing to do so. Without insight and motivation to change, outcomes are not very successful. Be a supportive person in their life, so when they are ready, they feel confident that they have your support when they are ready to face this challenge.

If YOU are struggling with hoarding disorder, know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE

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