Hoarding disorders have increased during the pandemic. Here’s how to help a loved one who hoards.

Hoarding disorder — a mental health condition in which people have trouble getting rid of possessions because of a perceived need to save them — affects about 2.6 percent of people worldwide, according to the American Psychiatric Association. There are higher rates in those over 60 and people who have other psychiatric problems, such as anxiety or depression, but its frequency doesn’t seem to be affected by country or culture. Despite the cat lady stereotype, it affects men and women equally.

Friends and family members of those who hoard can find it difficult to control their feelings of anger and helplessness. “Hoarding can cause profound distress for family members,” Chasson said. “Lots of frustration, lots of anger, lots of just completely not understanding what’s going on and how to help. It can be a really difficult dynamic between individuals and their loved ones, with fighting and arguing” that sometimes leads to estrangement. —Washington Post

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