Defining and Identifying HoardingAs hoarding becomes more and more prominent, you may know of someone who suffers from this mental illness. Many of us may perceive hoarding as something which affects low income, under educated and lazy people. The truth is this illness affects people of all ages, races, income, and education levels. We will look into the definition; tell tale signs, causes, and consequences.

What defines Hoarding?
Webster defines as…

  • (n) – A store of money or valued objects, typically one that is secret or carefully guarded.
  • (v) – Amass (money or valued objects) and hide or store away.
  • Synonyms – store, stash, stock, treasure; amass, accumulate, garner, pile-up.

The Mayo Clinic defines as…

  • The excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them.
  • Creates such cramped living conditions that homes may be filled to capacity, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter.
  • Collects animals, keeping dozens or hundreds of pets often in unsanitary conditions.

What causes Hoarding?

  • Genetics/Upbringing
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Loneliness/Social Trigger

How would I know if someone might be a Hoarder?

  • Excessive emotional attachment to possessions
  • Discomfort letting others touch or borrow possessions
  • Difficulty managing daily activities, including procrastination and trouble making decisions
  • Difficulty organizing items
  • Limited or no social interactions
  • Shame or embarrassment

What are some hazards Hoarding presents in a home?

  • Health and Safety Risks
  • Indoor air quality
  • Exits blocked and difficulty navigating through the house
  • Property Damage
  • Concealed issues
  • Structural concerns
  • Depression
  • Social embarrassment
  • Death

If someone you know or you yourself have a need for cleanup, please start with patience. Many times we must spend hours with the individual before they will trust us, and it can be hard to even get in the home to view the problem. Seek help from a professional that has the experience is working with Hoarders.