The Dangers of Hoarding: What You Need to Know & How Bio-One Can Help

The Dangers of Hoarding: What You Need to Know & How Bio-One Can Help

Hoarding is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, yet it remains largely misunderstood. People who suffer from compulsive hoarding often accumulate excessive amounts of possessions to the point where it becomes difficult or impossible to use their living spaces as intended. They constantly deal with stress from the thought of dealing with the mess.

A property impacted by hoarding is usually a dangerous environment to be around, as it's often a suitable area for mold growth and carbon monoxide exposure from waste and trash. Additionally, compulsive hoarding can increase the risk of accidental fires and diseases.

While hoarding can be a delicate situation to overcome, it's important to remember that professional hoarding cleanup companies can help. Bio-One is a professional cleaning company with years of experience in hoarding cleanup and can help you get rid of clutter and waste. This resource will help you better understand and safely address hoarding.

Image shows a hoarded property cleaned by Bio-One specialists.

1. What is hoarding disorder?

According to the Mayo Clinic, hoarding disorder (HD) is a mental health condition characterized by excessive acquisition and retention of possessions, along with difficulty discarding items, regardless of their actual value.

While the symptoms may vary from person to person, they typically include:

 

  • Excessive acquisition and retention of possessions: old magazines, books, clothing, food, empty boxes, plastic bags, and others.

  • The following are signs of hoarding: difficulty discarding things, chronic disorganization, and distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other critical areas of functioning. Clutter accumulates to the point that it's practically impossible to walk throughout the rooms.

2. How common is hoarding disorder?

HD is not as uncommon as one might think. Approximately 2 to 5 percent of the population struggles with HD. This may be underestimated due to the condition's lack of awareness and understanding.

There are many reasons why someone might start compulsive hoarding. It may be a coping mechanism to deal with emotional problems or stress for some. Others may begin hoarding as a way to deal with feelings of anxiety or insecurity. Some people may enjoy the feeling of having things around them, while others may find it difficult to let go of possessions even if they don't need them or use them.

Regardless of the reasons, hoarding can have a severe impact on hoarders and their loved ones. The clutter can make it challenging to live comfortably in one's own home and lead to problems such as fires, vermin infestations, and health problems from excessive dust and dirt. HD can also be a sign of another condition, such as Obssesive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and can be very difficult to overcome without help.

Image shows a hoarded property, specifically a living room area filled with clutter.

3. The dangers of hoarding: fire hazards, health hazards, and other risks

Hoarding is a serious problem that can have dangerous consequences. A hoarder's home is a hazardous place. They are exposed to multiple complications: fire hazards, health hazards, and other risks.

Fire Hazards

Clutter can easily catch on fire, and when there is a lot of clutter and trash, the risk of a fire spreading increases. In fact, hoarding is one of the leading causes of house fires.

Health Hazards

The clutter that often accompanies hoarding can lead to mold and rodent infestations from rotten food, which can cause several health problems. Additionally, the buildup of mold and carbon monoxide can be dangerous to your health and can cause many health problems, including respiratory problems, dizziness, and headaches.

Image shows another angle of the hoarded property cleaned by Bio-One specialists.

Other Risks

HD can also lead to other risks, such as the risk of being robbed or becoming trapped in a pile of clutter. It can also damage relationships and cause financial problems. The process of cleaning and decluttering a hoarded property can be extensive and costly. Multiple biohazards result from these situations: rotten food, dead animals, mice, rats and other pests, mold, and water damage, among others.

Professional hoarding cleanup companies like Bio-One can help by providing the necessary support and removing any hazardous materials that may have built up due to hoarding from a house or property. Our team is experienced in dealing with all types of hoarding cases, so we can provide you with the help you need to overcome this disorder.

4. The effects of hoarding: emotional, physical, and social

Hoarding can have a number of adverse effects on all aspects of an individual's life.

Emotional Effects

HD can cause a great deal of emotional distress, including feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation. It can also lead to anxiety and depression. These emotions can significantly impact an individual's quality of life and relationships.

Physical Effects

HD can lead to several physical problems, such as respiratory problems from mold and dust, musculoskeletal problems from moving heavy items, empty boxes, and vision problems from constantly looking through the clutter.

Social Effects

HD often leads to social isolation, as friends and family may be too overwhelmed or disgusted to spend time with the hoarder. Hoarding can also damage relationships and cause financial problems.

Image shows a cluttered room before being cleared out by Bio-One technicians.

5. Diagnosis for Hoarding: The importance of a professional in these situations

As of 2013, the American Psychiatric Association recognizes HD as a mental health condition. Several criteria must be met for HD to be diagnosed. The hoarding behavior must cause significant distress or impairment in the person's functioning. It must be persistent and not due to another mental illness, and the individual must have difficulties organizing and managing possessions.

 

HD is often associated with other conditions like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD), Depression, and OCD. While it's true that hoarders may be dealing with these disorders by the time they're diagnosed with HD, the treatment for hoarding is not the same as the treatment for these conditions.

Many different types of therapy are effective in treating HD. Standard forms of therapy include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), exposure and response prevention (ERP), and family-focused therapy.

CBT helps individuals change their thoughts and behaviors that contribute to HD. ERP helps individuals confront their fears about discarding items. Family-focused therapy helps families understand the reasoning behind hoarding and how hoarders see their relationship with their belongings.

6. Treatment for hoarding: What to expect

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with HD, many treatment options are available. The most important thing is to seek help from a  professional.

Therapy

As mentioned above, many different types of therapy have been shown to be effective in treating HD.

Medication

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help treat HD. This can include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and medications for OCD.

Self-help

There are several self-help books and websites available on HD. It's important to remember that self-help is not a substitute for therapy, but it can be a helpful tool to use along with therapy.

Many hoarders are aware that their behavior is abnormal and often feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. They may try to hide their possessions from others or resist anyone's attempts to help. However, seeking help is essential for overcoming HD. With the proper treatment, most people are able to reduce their hoarding behavior and regain their lives.

Image shows a cluttered room after being cleared out by Bio-One technicians.

7. Contacting a hoarding cleanup service and hoarder support services

HD is a serious condition that can have dangerous consequences. When out of control, it can lead to fire hazards, health hazards, and other risks. If left unattended, hoarding situations may be life-threatening.

Bio-One is a hoarding cleanup company that can help you overcome and deal with the consequences of a hoarding situation. As professional cleaners and biohazard remediation specialists, our specialists are prepared to get rid of clutter and clear out unnecessary items and trash, restoring your home to a safe space again. We also offer hoarder support services to help you or your family members deal with the psychological aspects of hoarding.

If you are dealing with hoarding or know about a loved one, a family member, friend, or a neighbor who might be dealing with hoarding and needs a cleanup/decluttering company, do not hesitate to contact us. Not only can we help you in the process of moving forward, but our deeply caring specialists will assist you with whatever tools you need to overcome the hoarding problem.

Image shows series of before and after of a hoarded property cleaned by Bio-One specialists.

8. FAQs

What are the symptoms of HD?

The most common symptoms of HD include excessive acquisition and retention of possessions, difficulty discarding items, clutter that significantly impairs an individual's quality of life, and significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Who is at risk for HD?

It can affect anyone, but it is more common in older adults. A traumatic life event, signs of stress at a very young age, and a history of clinical conditions also play a part in people at risk of developing HD.

What is the treatment for HD?

There are many different treatments for hoarding, but the most common include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and medication. A combination of counseling, medicine, and organizational support is also provided to those struggling with hoarding.

How is HD diagnosed?

It is diagnosed by a health professional based on a clinical evaluation. There are no specific tests that can be used to diagnose HD. Check the Bio-One resources page if you need help from a hoarding task force or local authorities.

How can HD be prevented?

There is no known way to prevent HD, but early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce its severity.

Should I clean up hoarding by myself?

Attempting to clean up a hoarded house or property may be challenging and overwhelming if you don't know the basics about this condition, not to mention that anyone trying to clean a hoarded property should have the necessary tools and PPE (safety gear, hard hats, mask, etc.).

Additionally, cleaning and decluttering a house without the hoarder's consent might cause more significant damage and worsen the situation. Learn more about the Anxiety & Depression Association of America on staging an intervention.

What is the fastest way to clean a hoarder's house?

 

HD must be treated with the utmost care and compassion. Forcing a hoarder to start cleaning without providing him with the necessary medical treatment and attention won't solve the problem. For the same reasons described above, we highly recommend that anyone with the intention of helping a hoarder overcome HD educate themselves about the topic before proceeding with a cleanup process.

What is Bio-One's approach to hoarding cleanup?

Bio-One's approach to hoarding cleanup is to work closely with the hoarder and their families to meet everyone's needs. We work closely with hoarders to consult with them through the process and return their environment to safe and comfortable. We also understand the importance of discretion and respect for our customers' privacy.

Image shows multiple angles of an apartment cleaned by Bio-One specialists.

How a Hoarding Cleanup Company Like Bio-One Can Help

If you believe you, a loved one, or a family member is suffering from HD, it's essential to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. This condition can be debilitating and significantly impact an individual's quality of life. There are several ways to get help for HD, including therapy and medication.

Bio-One can help. We offer cleanup services to get rid of the clutter and make your home safe again. We also provide hoarder support services to help you deal with the psychological aspects of hoarding. Our team of hoarding cleanup specialists are here to help you or your loved one overcome hoarding and reclaim their lives. You don't have to worry about where things will go, dumpster rental services, or donations. We will take care of everything. Don't suffer alone. Contact Bio-One of Orange today for assistance.

Image shows the before and after of a kitchen space cleaned by Bio-One specialists.

Help First, Business Second!

Bio-One of Orange offers a solution to life's most challenging and unexpected situations. We guarantee a quick response time, so you can rest assured that help is on the way. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Bio-One aims to provide top-quality service and support. So, if you're facing a difficult situation, don't hesitate to call the Bio-One team. We'll be there to help you every step of the way, all the time.

Our customers' well-being comes first, and our business always follows. That's why we always offer a free consultation to all potential clients. We want to ensure that everyone who needs our help knows precisely what to expect from our services.

Locally owned, our company provides top-quality, industry-leading cleaning, sanitation, and decontamination services in:

 

  • Blood and biohazard cleaning

  • Crime and trauma scene cleaning

  • Bodily fluids cleaning

  • Feces and urine cleaning

  • Undiscovered death cleaning

  • Homicide/Suicide cleaning

  • Virus Disinfection

  • Fentanyl cleaning

  • Mold remediation 

  • Odor removal 

  • Sewage backups cleaning

Bio-One specialists are ready to help you in your greatest moment of need.

Additionally, our hoarding cleaning services are reliable and professional. We understand that, for many people, letting go of their belongings can be a difficult decision. Our team of experts works closely with clients to meet their needs, consulting with them through the process to return their environment to one that is safe and comfortable.

We provide the most professional hoarding cleaning service in the area:

 

  • Hoarding cleanup

  • Animal hoarding cleanup

  • Gross filth cleanup

  • Junk and clutter removal

  • Deep clean

  • Hazardous waste removal

Bio-One of Orange is proud to serve Orange County, California, and surrounding communities: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda!

We are ready to help you, your loved one, or your friend in their greatest moment of need. Bio-One of Orange is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Give us a call at 714-397-8375.

Published by:

Rafael Alemán.

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