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Can Hoarding Cause Health Problems?

Table of Contents

Introduction | What is Hoarding?

Hoarding is a mental illness defined by the sufferer’s compulsive need to amass anything and everything they can get their hands on. Collections tend to spiral out of control, causing entire rooms of the home to be unusable, and in extreme cases resulting in structural damage. Hoarders feel intense stress at the thought of getting rid of their personal items, even when the clutter has become hazardous to their health.

Signs and Symptoms of Hoarding

Extreme disposophobia is a common characteristic of hoarding. Hoarders will often fear getting rid of something in case they need it in the future, or they may claim to be holding onto something because it would make the perfect gift one day. Unfortunately, these items will never actually get used, and will instead build up to become a dangerous amount of unusable stuff that the hoarder refuses to discard. 

Health Risks Associated with Hoarding

Hoarding disorder can create a big mess in the home, but it can also pose a huge health risk to anyone who suffers from it. The health problems a hoarder might face varies depending on the severity of the situation, and what exactly they collect. Threats to the health include, but are not limited to, respiratory issues, injuries, and in severe cases even death.

Health Risks Associated with Hoarding

  • Disease. Poor air quality, mildew and fungus, and illnesses related to unsanitary conditions are some of the most common hoarder health problems. Poor sanitation generally occurs among animal hoarders, food hoarders, and trash hoarders, as they are exposed to toxic substances such as feces, rotting food, and other chemicals.
  • Tripping and Falling. With all the stuff piled up in the home, it’s easy to trip, fall, and sprain an ankle – or worse. The more rooms start to fill up with unneeded items, the more likely a slip or a tumble can occur, and injuries can range in severity depending on what there is to break the fall.
  • Fire hazards. On top of creating obstacles to stumble over, the clutter in a hoarder home can result in a huge fire hazard. Not only are items such as clothing, mail, and some electronics flammable when not stored properly, but blocked entryways and cluttered floors can cause hoarders to be unable to exit their homes or be rescued in the event of an actual fire.
  • Infestation. All the clutter accumulating in a hoarder’s home is the perfect breeding ground for bed bugs, roaches, rodents, and other pests. These pests also pose their own health risks, and are down right unnerving to have in your home.
  • Mental illness. Hoarders are often afflicted with mental health issues such as OCD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. These issues often go untreated, as hoarders tend to live in isolation.

 

How to ask for Help

Getting help for hoarders can be a challenge, as many become embarrassed of their situation and refuse to admit there is a problem at all. The best thing to do is to contact a professional who has experience in these situations to help guide you as you express your concerns.

Bring in the professionals

The hoarding cleanup experts at Hoarders911 have nearly twenty years of experience helping hoarders recover their lives and restore their homes. Our team of professional organizers is prepared for any and everything, from clutter cleanup to pest control. We even use a discreet junk removal process to protect your privacy and minimize your stress.

Conclusion

Hoarding is a serious health threat. If you suspect a loved one might be suffering from hoarding disorder, don’t wait until it’s too late to do something about it. Contact a professional and get them on track to a better life today.

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