Millions of people in the United States are hoarders. One may hoard books, papers, knick knacks, clothing, food, even animals. The average person will view this as pure laziness, sloppiness or neglect. And what they don’t understand is that hoarding is a mental disorder. Some will have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and it may or may not be genetic.
Even families who have dealt with a hoarder for many years may be extremely frustrating. They may have separated themselves from the hoarder. This can be from countless attempts to help their hoarding loved one with cleaning, financial help or embarrassment as far back as from childhood.
Socially, hoarders suffer greatly as does the rest of the family. Spending holidays together is non existent. There are no sleepovers for children nor friends of any age that come over for visits. The hoarder and their family can barely move inside the home much less have anyone else over. If the hoarder has young children they risk losing them, even losing the home because of the excessive clutter.
Animal hoarders love animals in their own way although law enforcement disagree. Most view it as neglect or abuse. There have been cases of animal hoarders with hundreds of animals (which includes those found dead) in or around a home. Most of the animals are decimated, have diseases and live in filth. Still though, the animal hoarder believes they are doing the best they can. They believe they are saving the animals from death if they were to be sent to the animal shelter. These hoarders feel that the animals are kind and understanding unlike humans who are scathing, uncaring, misunderstood about them.
Unless the hoarder is under treatment and support the chances are very high they will repeat the pattern again. It is important for the family, friends and public to understand what hoarding is and what can be done.