Hoarding is a condition where an individual has persistent difficulty discarding possessions, regardless of their real value. The hoarded items usually clutter and congest living spaces and interfere with routine activities like cooking, cleaning, and sleeping. Hoarding Disorder affects millions of people across the world, and in most cases, it can lead to serious health risks. In this blog post, we’ll look at the common hoarding symptoms, describe how it starts, outline the risks involved, and explore the process of helping a person with the condition.
What Are the Risk Factors of Hoarding?
Hoarding Disorder usually results from a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors. The condition often can start in adolescence or early adulthood, and it affects both men and women equally. The most common risk factors for Hoarding Disorder include disability, stressful life events, and depression.
In most cases, individuals with the condition develop a strong attachment to objects, and they believe that the possessions will bring them comfort and security.
Common Hoarding Symptoms
Symptoms of hoarding disorder tend to get worse over time, with the accumulation of more possessions and clutter. Some of the most common signs that someone has the condition include:
- Difficulty discarding possessions
- Extreme clutter and congestion in living spaces
- Inability to use rooms or furniture for their intended purpose
- Severe anxiety when faced with the decision to discard an item
- Social isolation and avoidance of inviting others over
- Refusal to let others touch or borrow items
- Neglecting self-care and hygiene
- Difficulty organizing and prioritizing tasks
Hoarding poses several physical and safety risks. The clutter and congestion in living spaces can pose fire hazards, pest infestations, and structural damage, while the accumulation of food and waste can increase the risk of health problems like respiratory illnesses, allergies, and infections.
How Hoarding Affects Relationships
Hoarding Disorder can cause immense emotional distress, interpersonal problems, and financial hardships. The condition often leads to strained relationships with family, friends, and neighbors who may not understand the behavior. Hoarding can cause conflicts over living spaces, unfulfilled promises of cleaning up, and financial strain from excessive spending on unnecessary items.
The emotional toll of hoarding is also significant. Individuals with the condition may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about their living conditions which often results in social withdrawal and isolation. This can also cause strain on relationships and make it difficult for individuals with hoarding to seek help.
How to Help Someone Treat Hoarding Symptoms and Get Help
Helping an individual with hoarding requires a delicate approach and a comprehensive treatment plan. The key to helping someone with hoarding is to first recognize the problem and offer support without judgment. Once the individual agrees to treatment, a team of mental health professionals can collaborate to provide therapy, medication, and cognitive-behavioral strategies.
The treatment plan should also address any underlying mental health conditions that may be contributing to hoarding, such as depression, anxiety, or OCD. In severe cases, professional cleanup services may be needed to clear the clutter and restore areas to safety and functionality.
Bio-One of Marion County Can Help
Hoarding symptoms are disruptive and can lead to serious health and safety risks. Helping someone with the condition requires an understanding of the underlying causes and a comprehensive treatment plan. Mental health professionals can provide therapy, medication, and cognitive-behavioral strategies to manage the symptoms of Hoarding Disorder. If you or someone you know is struggling with hoarding, remember that help is available.
Don't hesitate to reach out to professionals for support. Our team at Bio-One of Marion County offers hoarding cleanup services in Indianapolis, but we have a list of resources and partners Nationwide, ready to help you!
Bio-One specializes in blood and bodily fluids, decomposition/undiscovered death, crime scene, suicide cleanup, tear gas, feces/urine, sewage backups, and odor removal. Helping people get their lives back in order is our #1 priority.
Bio-One of Marion County is here to help you 24/7, 365 days a year! Call (317) 499-0614, and you'll speak directly to one of us when you call; there is never an answering service. We'll treat you like a person with the compassion and respect that you deserve.