According to Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Health and Human Services, “Hoarding is the acquisition of, and failure to discard a large number of possessions in a residence which appear to be useless or of limited value. Living spaces, furniture,appliances and utilities are sufficiently cluttered as to prevent their intended use, which could pose a significant risk to health, safety or the maintenance of housing.”
Signs and Symptoms of Hoarding (not all signs will be present)
- Parts of your home become unusable and clutter may block egress and ingress (windows and doors)
- No apparent or intended organization to the clutter
- The hoarded items hold no value
- Presence of numerous pets
- Home is unsanitary and the clutter makes it difficult or impossible to use the bathroom or kitchen
- Clutter causes an infestations of insects, rats, roaches
- Increased social isolation
- Hoarder unwilling to give up items
- Unable or unwilling to return borrowed items
- Structural damage to the house as a result of the accumulated items or failure to maintain the home
Up to 5% of the world’s population displays signs of clinical hoarding. This is twice the rate of those diagnosed with OCD and five times the rate of those diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia disorders.
Common Personality Traits of a Hoarder (not all traits will be present)
For those who do not suffer from hoarding disorder it can be difficult to understand why anyone would choose to accumulate and develop an emotional attachment with items that have no real value or worth. In fact, in cities throughout the U.S., hoarders are renting storage units and buying additional homes to accommodate items and goods that they can no longer fit into their family home, garage or vehicles.
Many years ago, individuals who collected “stuff” were called pack rats. Today, in light of TV shows that depict the lives of hoarders, friends, family and neighbors are now familiar with the signs and symptoms of hoarding disorder. Often times these behaviors, especially if they present an eyesore or safety hazard, are being reported to government authorities.
As hoarding disorder (compulsive hoarding) garners more attention, additional state, county and local resources are being deployed. Through the increased involvement of police, fire, adult protective services and the court systems, more effective programs are being developed and deployed to aid those suffering from this disorder.
If you feel you may be a hoarder or know someone who hoards or has excessive clutter in their home, please ask him/her to contact Bio-Trauma 911, Inc. at 1-800-759-6960 or use our contact form
. If you would like to speak now; however, prefer not to use the phone, feel free to chat with us through our live chat system at http://www.biotrauma911.com/livezilla/livezilla.php