It is believed that 1 in 50 people have serious hoarding problems and may be as high as 1 in 20 people. Hoarding can be minimal and not impact one’s life much, but it can also be severe and drastically impact one’s life. Hoarding looks different for everyone, so it is important to look at every person individually. That said, here are a few factors that can put someone at higher risk for hoarding:
~ Other family members being hoarders (living with a hoarder during younger years)
~ Experiencing a trauma
~ OCD (it is believed that 1 in 5 people who are diagnosed with OCD are also compulsive hoarders)
There are some key things that many people exhibit if they have hoarding tendencies. If you do notice these things, it is important to talk to the person about what you are noticing from a calm, non-judgmental place.
~ They have a hard time getting rid of things, even if there is no perceived value
~ They will spend their money on buying things they don’t need rather than buy things essential to day to day living
~ If they must get rid of something it causes them distress
~ Items in home make it hard to navigate through and cause safety hazards
Hoarding can affect a person on many different levels. Relationships, health, and safety are some of the main things that can be impacted.
~ Isolation (many people shut out their friends and families for fear of judgement)
~ Anger in Family (if the family knows about the hoarding, conflict can ensue because of frustration and not understanding the situation)
~ Mold growth is found quite frequently and can cause many health problems
~ Rodents and bugs are common in homes with compulsive hoarding and can carry diseases such as hantavirus
~ When pets are involved, the urine and feces can carry disease and also cause very bad air quality
~ Slip and falls are common due to debris on the floors and unsteady floors
~ Structural integrity is often compromised
~Stacked items in home can fall and injure someone
~Excessive debris is a fire hazard
It is important if you are experiencing hoarding disorder to seek help. There are licensed therapists that specialize in hoarding disorder, professional organizers and hoarding cleaning specialists that can help. In tandem, lifelong success can be reached. The process of getting help can be very difficult and painful, but it is worth it in the end.