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Oct 12, 2023

Understanding Hoarding—A Maryland Perspective

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.

 

A room filled with a large amount of clutter, belongings, and items stacked haphazardly, creating a chaotic and disorganized environment

The Definition of Hoarding

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.

 

A room filled with a large amount of clutter, belongings, and items stacked haphazardly, creating a chaotic and disorganized environment with text "types of hoarding"

Types of Hoarding

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:

Clutter hoarding

Characterized by the excessive accumulation of items like newspapers, magazines, clothing and household goods.

Animal hoarding

A compulsion to rescue or collect animals and keep them often in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

Food hoarding

Including perishable and non-perishable goods.

Sentimental hoarding

Sentimental hoarding of items like letters, cards, photographs and personal mementos.

Collecting hoarding

Collecting hoarding of items with a specific theme, such as coins, stamps or antiques.

Trash hoarding

The saving of items most people would consider worthless.

Information hoarding

An excessive collection of digital or physical information or data that can include newspapers, books, documents or digital files.

 

The Prevalence of Hoarding in Maryland

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.

 

text image: The Social and Psychological Impacts of Hoarding

The Social and Psychological Impacts of Hoarding

The implications of hoarding disorder can have the following impact on individuals, their families and their communities:

  • Safety risks due to blocked pathways and fire exits, and impediments to emergency responder.
  • Health concerns from unsanitary conditions.
  • Social isolation and withdrawal as a result of embarrassment or shame of the living conditions.
  • Stigmatization and judgment from others who may not understand the disorder’s complexities.
  • Financial burden from substantial costs of purchasing items, and maintaining and repairing their cluttered living spaces.
  • Legal consequences if the hoarder violates local health and safety codes. In extreme cases, authorities may need to intervene, potentially resulting in fines, eviction or legal action.
  • Neighborhood concerns about the appearance of hoarded properties, leading to complaints, conflicts and legal actions. In addition, hoarding can jeopardize housing stability, particularly in rental properties.
  • Family strain with members becoming isolated, frustrated, concerned or estranged.
  • Decline in quality of life due to the clutter and chaos, making daily activities challenging or impossible.
  • Mental health implications including depression and anxiety resulting from the emotional distress.

 

123 junk team working together to remove clutter and unwanted items from a home.

Maryland Hoarding Cleanup and Junk Removal with 123JUNK

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.

 

Contact 123JUNK Today for Maryland Junk Hauling

We know that our clients’ stuff is their treasure, and we treat every haul with the utmost respect. When you or your family, or someone you know, needs help with a hoarding cleanup in Maryland, contact 123JUNK. You’ll speak with a live representative who can answer your questions and explain our process, including our transparent pricing.

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