Up until 2013, hoarding was considered a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. In 2013, hoarding was classified as a specific mental health condition, separate and apart from OCD.
Hoarding disorder, as the condition technically is called, is defined as a persistent inability to part with possessions due to a perceived need to save them. The net result is an excessive accumulation of items. This can include items that have no actual value and can include garbage.
If you are a resident of Orange County and are laboring under the challenges of hoarding disorder (or think you may be in such a position), there exist some support groups and other resources in the area which can be of assistance to you.
Orange County Task Force on Hoarding
Understanding the widespread nature of hoarding, the Orange County Taskforce on Hoarding was established to assist people suffering from this condition as well as to provide support to family members of individuals with hoarding disorder.
The task force has a mission that is built around the organization is a collaborative effort to effectively impact hoarding in Orange County. The task force is comprised of volunteers that meets monthly to review the status of existing hoarding situations in the county that impact the health, welfare, and safety of people in the county, including a hoarder his or her self.
The task force does not provide direct services to people suffering from hoarding disorder or their families. With that noted, the task force does provide a myriad of resources to hoarders and their loved ones. The task force includes representatives of agencies and programs that do offer direct services to people with hoarding disorder and their loved ones. This includes support groups for hoarders in Orange County.
Organizations in Orange County that encounter hoarding situations are encouraged to bring them to the attention of the task force. By doing so, the task force is able to identify meaningful strategies to aid a hoarder, including referral to a support group. The task force is also able to assist in finding other resources, in addition, to support groups to assist a hoarder.
The task force has a trio of primary goals:
- Resource development (including support group referral)
- Implementation of effective interventions
Participants in the Orange County Task Force on Hoarding include:
- Adult protective services
- Animal control officials
- Senior service providers
- Mental health professionals
- Other healthcare professionals
- Code enforcement officials
- Housing representatives
- Fire department representatives
- Professional organizers
The task force is cognizant of the fact that many hoarders lack the financial resources to obtain private mental health assistance in regard to their issues. Thus, the task force strives to find solutions (including support groups) that a person with hoarding disorder can access at no cost to them, or on a sliding scale that recognizes their financial needs.
The task force has created a Hoarding Intervention Resources Guide, both for people afflicted with hoarding disorder as well as their loved ones. The resource guide provides a wealth of information on all aspects of hoarding, including an array of different types of services and resources.
More information on the resources available via the Orange County Task Force on Hoarding can be obtained by contacting:
The Mental Health Association of Orange County
822 Town & Country Road
Orange, CA 92868
Clutterers Anonymous, or CLA, follows the structure utilized by Alcoholics Anonymous. The group is described as being a fellowship me men an women who share their experiences with clutter and hoarding. Locations of meetings in California can be found at the CLA website.
Books on Hoarding
Buried Treasures by D. Tolin, R, Frost, and G. Steketee (2007, Oxford University Press)
Compulsive Hoarding and Acquiring: Therapist Guide and Workbook by G. Steketee and R. Frost (2007, Oxford University Press)
Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter by M. Tompkins and T. Hartl (2009 New Harbinger Publications)