Cleaning expert warns hoarding is a problem in Tri-Cities

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KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – We all have those belongings that we just can’t bear to part ways with. On Wednesday, social workers and insurance professionals heard about how “collecting” can turn into “hoarding.”

Matt Paxton, a cleaning expert on the TV show, “Hoarders,” spoke in Kingsport about what causes people to hoard their belongings.

He is traveling the nation in partnership with ServiceMaster Restore to help professionals learn to care for hoarders and their families.

Hoarding is a classified mental disorder that around 15 million Americans suffer from and tends to be a result of a traumatic experience in a person’s life.

According to Paxton, the Tri-Cities have a particularly high rate of hoarders in comparison to the rest of the country. While nationally, 5% of Americans struggle with hoarding, the number is closer to 8% in the Tri-Cities.

“This is an area that has an aging population and they’ve dealt with a lot of real stuff,” Paxton said, “So hoarding is here. It’s actually at a much higher rate here.”

Paxton sees those who struggle with hoarding as victims and wants to help people overcome their struggles.

“If you see me on TV cleaning the messiest homes in the country you think hoarding is just some gross thing. It’s not. Hoarding is a mental disorder. It’s caused by trauma. Something bad has happened to that person. There’s always a reason. They wouldn’t choose to live that way.”

Paxton says the key to reaching those who are struggling with hoarding is learning how to communicate with them despite all that they have been through, particularly in the Tri-Cities.

Paxton added, “Hoarding is caused by trauma and when you get into the Tri-Cities area you’ve definitely got a lot of trauma that’s happened over the last hundred years.”Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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