06/02/2013 06:01 GMT | Updated 13/02/2013 04:16 GMT

5 Ways To Help A Hoarder Change Their Habits (PICTURES)

TV programmes like Britain's Biggest Hoarders have brought the condition of hoarding into the spotlight. They show that hoarding can go beyond a tendency towards messiness; compulsive hoarding is a recognised medical condition that requires careful treatment. According to the NHS, compulsive hoarding is defined as “excessively collecting items that are of little or no value and not being able to throw them away, resulting in unmanageable amounts of clutter.” While the reasons why someone becomes a hoarder are still not fully understood, there are some basic steps that can be taken to help.

According to Dr Rebecca Beaton, psychologist and director of the Anxiety and Stress Management Institute, hoarders “have strong beliefs about, as well as emotional attachments to, possessions that prove to be problematic to their long-term wellbeing.” When it comes to tackling this issue, treatment needs to go beyond decluttering the hoarder’s house, continues Beaton: “People with HD [hoarding disorder] need to learn how to change the way they think about acquiring, purchasing, or collecting as well as how they relate to their belongings.”

If you suspect a loved one to suffer from compulsive hoarding, the most important piece of advice is to encourage the hoarder in question to seek professional help, but these experts tips could help begin to tackle this complex issue.