Who is affected by Hoarding Disorder?
Hoarding can affect anyone. It does not discriminate in terms of occupation, education status, religion, gender, sexual orientation or age. Hoarding disorder does not only have an impact on the individual who shows the symptoms but also on their family members, carers and friends. Often sufferers do not allow family or friends to visit their home. When family members share living space with those affected they can find it extremely difficult to cope with the restricted environment and the reaction to moving or handling items that have been hoarded.
Hoarding disorder impacts the individual on many different levels. Firstly, the environment is cluttered, leaving no comfortable space or room. Secondly, personal relationships are affected. Thirdly, the ability to engage in normal activities is disrupted. Finally, feelings of shame, anxiety and fear of a stigmatised perception by others often leads to social isolation.
Those living within the same environment often exhibit similarly high levels of stress and anxiety as the individual with hoarding issues who controls the space in which they live. Their movements within their home are restricted; they have no personal space for themselves due to the clutter. Often family members report considerable anger within the environment. The resulting tension can cause a deterioration of relationships. Friends are often not allowed to visit for fear that they may judge the person who hoards. Over time, the individual’s personal relationships and friendships deteriorate to the point where they end up living alone and isolated.