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Hoarding can make life a misery for individuals and their families, affecting health and lifestyle, and posing a significant risk of fire and other dangers. Research suggests that 25% of accidental domestic fire deaths involve hoarding. Hoarding affects the whole family, making it difficult to receive social visits and in extreme cases, affecting living space and basic freedoms such as space in which to do homework or even sleep. Other challenges in hoarded homes can include restricted entry and exit, difficulties gaining access to gas and electricity areas, water leaks, mould, and rat and other infestations. Financial implications may include not having access to paperwork, leading to unpaid bills and other complications. Previously viewed as part of obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding disorder was recognised as a mental health disorder in its own right within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in May 2013. This book aims to help those who are affected by hoarding difficulties, including friends and family. Topics include:
What is Hoarding Disorder - the five diagnostic criteria
What triggers hoarding - abuse, bereavement, childhood issues, and so on
Who can help a hoarder and how to help
How to assess clutter
Why an intense clear-out doesn't work
Taking steps to deal with it - an 8-step plan
Where does my stuff go?
Safeguarding - working with local councils and social services
Therapies and resources
About the Author
Jo Cooke is is director of Hoarding Disorders UK and an accredited member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO). Her previous career included working for various charities and the Civil Service.