What is Hoarding Disorder?
Hoarding is often unfairly deduced to laziness. In reality, hoarding is a mental condition with an insistent and compulsive need to acquire and save items; giving them an intense fear or discomfort to discard anything. Hoarding goes beyond collecting, it causes dysfunction and disruption to the lives affected. From our experience at Bio-One we’ve seen both consistent and inconsistent patterns in acquisition. We typically see mixtures of garbage, storage containers, cardboard boxes, books, plastic bags, or household supplies. Some people also hoard animals.
There are many symptoms and ways to tell if you or a loved one is struggling from a hoarding disorder, including but not limited to “...associated problems such as indecisiveness, perfectionism, procrastination, disorganization and distractibility.” (American Psychiatric Association 2021). You can also detect changes in mood, personality and social behaviors.
The psychological effects of this condition are serious and need to be monitored with care to see they don’t progress into dangerous territory. “It has been associated with a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and schizophrenia. A third of people with autism spectrum disorder are thought to hoard particular items.” In 2018, the World Health Organization added hoarding to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), in hopes to promote research and take this disorder more seriously. It is their hope that this will lead to a more sympathetic representation of hoarding in the media and more respect for the people who live with this disorder.
The Physical Danger
There also needs to be attention given to the physical hazards present and potential. No matter what the person is hoarding, there are risks of items avalanching, tripping hazards, fire hazards, and infestations that can accumulate and cause structural damage to the home. You also need to consider whether first responders could reach the residents in a case of emergency.
Help is Available
Here at Bio-One, we understand the premises of this disorder and want only to create a compassionate and trusting environment to help you start this uneasy process towards healing. We will ask, and listen, to any needs and wants. Our goal isn’t to take over your space, but to work with you to create a more happy and healthy home for you to thrive in.
Hoarding disorder: A medical condition. (2018). The Lancet
What is Hoarding Disorder? (2021) American Psychiatric Association https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/hoarding-disorder/what-is-hoarding-disorder