The struggle with hoarding is 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 couldn’t 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 old habits may have arisen, or new -bad- habits have developed, unfortunately. It’s safe to say that hoarding and collecting are not the same.
We are not randomly tossing words out. The reason for this prelude is to let everyone know that there is no 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 is caring and understanding what it means to help someone living in a hoarded property. The reality is that multiple biohazards are associated with hoarding: from accidental falls to accidental fire, the accumulation of clutter and waste makes up for a highly dangerous environment for the victim, 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 performing normal, day-to-day activities like cooking, bathing, or even just walking around the house.
People struggling with hoarding disorder tend to isolate themselves from family, friends, and the community, as they may feel embarrassed by the precarious living conditions. This is the main difference between hoarding and collecting.
Someone who collects things is usually active in pursuing these longed-for items, but there is a limit. They know what is necessary and what is not and have no problem showing off their collections. There’s a sense of “pride” associated with being a collector.
For someone struggling with hoarding, it is different, mainly because they are unaware of the self-damage and potentially hazardous situations they may be putting themselves in by not giving in to throwing away things that don’t serve a real purpose in their lives.
From an outside perspective, it might be easy to pass judgment on someone who is struggling with hoarding. It’s important to understand that hoarding and collecting differ because the first is an actual mental health condition that many reasons may trigger. To successfully overcome hoarding, yes, self-motivation is necessary. People need to realize the dangers of a cluttered, hoarded space and accept that they need help. The problem is that sometimes, this realization doesn’t come as easy as one might want.
Help from a loved one, and more importantly, from a health professional, is of utmost importance to guide the individual and provide them with the treatment they need to overcome hoarding. Family and friends are more than welcome to assist someone if they suspect they may be struggling with a hoarding disorder, but it has to come from a non-judgment and deeply understanding perspective.
Hoarding is a difficult situation that needs as much help and support as possible. Cleaning and disinfecting a house impacted by hoarding may be overwhelming and stressful. Bio-One of Chula Vista’s specialists are prepared to help you rid the house or property of all the biohazards and dangerous pathogens resulting from accumulated clutter and waste. Know that our specialists are caring, compassionate, and utterly discreet during this transition.
Bio-One is ready to address issues caused by unanticipated circumstances, such as death and serious trauma, at any time. We deploy our certified and experienced technicians as soon as possible so you can focus on more important things while the recovery process begins.
Locally owned, Bio-One of Chula Vista works closely with emergency responders, hoarding task forces, public service agencies, and other organizations to provide the most efficient service possible:
We proudly serve the San Diego County location and surrounding cities and communities: Chula Vista, San Diego, National City, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, El Cajon, Santee, Lakeside, Coronado, La Mesa, Imperial Beach, Bonita, Alpine, surrounding communities.