Behind the doors of seemingly ordinary homes lies a challenge that often remains concealed from public view—hoarding disorder. In this post, we’ll look at the nuances of this complex mental health disorder, the importance of understanding it from a Maryland perspective, and how junk removal services can play an important role.
Hoarding is an often misunderstood behavioral disorder characterized by the excessive acquisition of possessions and the difficulty in parting with them, regardless of their actual value. The accumulation of items often leads to a cluttered living space, and the inability to discard them even when they serve no practical purpose are hallmarks of hoarding behavior. In severe cases, the clutter becomes so overwhelming it may compromise the individual’s ability to use their living spaces for intended purposes such as cooking, sleeping or bathing. It can also post safety hazards, increase fire risk, and lead to unsanitary conditions.
This disorder can have a devastating impact on an individual’s daily life, their family, and their living environment, but it is important to note that hoarding is not simply a matter of disorganization. It is a distinct mental health disorder recognized as “Hoarding Disorder.”
The exact causes of hoarding disorder are not know, but are believed to stem from a combination of genetic, environmental and psychological factors. Traumatic events, loss or a history of other mental health conditions may contribute to its development.
The types of hoarding often seen in Maryland can range from simple to complex, and can vary widely from person to person. The most common categories include:
Characterized by the excessive accumulation of items like newspapers, magazines, clothing and household goods.
A compulsion to rescue or collect animals and keep them often in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.
Including perishable and non-perishable goods.
Sentimental hoarding of items like letters, cards, photographs and personal mementos.
Collecting hoarding of items with a specific theme, such as coins, stamps or antiques.
The saving of items most people would consider worthless.
An excessive collection of digital or physical information or data that can include newspapers, books, documents or digital files.
Hoarding disorder is a relatively common mental health condition, estimated to affect between 2% and 5% of the general U.S. population, states Dr. Gail S. Steketee, Professor and Dean at the Boston University of Social Work and co-author of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things. In Maryland’s Montgomery County alone that can mean between 20,000 and 50,000 citizens suffer from hoarding disorder, with local demographic statistics showing a person with an average age of 50, single, living alone, with a family history of hoarding and a high rate of divorce.
The implications of hoarding disorder can have the following impact on individuals, their families and their communities:
123JUNK has the expertise and experience in working with hoarding cleanup projects. Their professional team is well trained in understanding the unique challenges and sensitivities involved with the strong emotional attachment to possessions and anxiety during the removal process, making the team well-equipped to assist Maryland individuals.
It is our mission to keep as much as possible out of area landfills, so we donate items that are in good condition to one of our local charity partners, like A Wider Circle or Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland in Silver Spring, MD or the Montgomery County Humane Society.
We also separate out items that cannot be repurposed, but are recyclable, and deliver those to the appropriate Maryland recycling center. Items beyond salvage are taken to the landfill.
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