A throwaway society

societyWe may live in a throwaway society — but up to two million people in the UK are compulsive hoarders.

According to new research, it first becomes a problem in during a person’s 30’s. It also affects more people with age, with seven per cent of the over-70s affected.

Hoarding is not just about holding on to your children’s school paintings. It is defined as the excessive collection of items that often appear to have no value, coupled with an inability to get rid of them.

According to the NHS, those affected acquire an excessive number of items and store them in a chaotic manner. It becomes a problem as the clutter starts to interfere with everyday living and causes significant distress or affects quality of life.

Possible treatments

societyBut it is a problem that responds to treatment: hoarding was once thought to be a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), however, OCD treatments have been largely ineffective.

Hoarding is now regarded as a standalone condition with treatments specific to it. Research shows these can help in up to 70 per cent of cases.

Many hoarders collect anything, while others focus on certain items: clothes, newspapers and books are the most common items, according to a study published by Michigan University, but the list also includes things such as till receipts, empty cans, rubbish and grass cuttings.

‘Hoarding is poorly understood,’ says Dr Cosmo Hallstrom, a consultant psychiatrist in private practice in London, and a spokesman for the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

‘There is a little bit of it in all of us. We get attached to things and we do not want to throw them away, that is part of human behaviour. But in some it gets out of hand, and becomes a problem.

A lot of people who hoard are often affected by other conditions such as depression and OCD. Read on to find out how depression medication might be able to help people who suffer form hoarding disorder.

Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at www.facebook.com/CloudsEndCIC for help.

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