The struggle with hoarding seems to be more often in families, especially after everything we have gone through as a society with the COVID-19 pandemic. Having to stay at home for safety reasons hasn’t had the same effect on everyone. For some, it has been an opportunity to reconnect with some of the things they weren’t able to do because of work and constantly being out. For others, though, it has been more challenging not being able to do the things they were used to doing, so it’s possible old habits may have arisen, or new -bad- habits have developed, unfortunately.
We are not randomly tossing words out. The reason for this prelude is to let everyone know that there is not a specific reason for hoarding. There are risk factors that mental health professionals have been able to identify, but there’s no right answer as to why someone may develop a hoarding disorder.
Hoarding was recognized as a mental health disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association, in its Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders - Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It’s the persistent difficulty with parting from personal possessions. For someone who struggles with hoarding disorder, these possessions have a more “emotional” value, and they’re not usually aware of the pilling up of things until the living space becomes too hazardous or too dangerous for them to be around.
Bio-One of Chula Vista’s specialists are caring and understanding of what it means to help someone living in a hoarded property. The reality is that there are multiple biohazards associated with hoarding: from accidental falls to accidental fire, the accumulation of clutter and waste makes up for a highly dangerous environment not only for the victim but for the families and other parties involved.
That is why hoarding disorder is associated with a diminished quality of life: the person struggling with it has trouble with performing normal, day-to-day activities like cooking, bathing, or even just walking around the house.