One of the more difficult situations family members come across is the need to intervene on behalf of a member of the family when that intervention may not be welcome. We see it all the time on Reality TV such as the show “Intervention” where a person is confronted by a number of family members because of a drug or alcohol addiction that is out of control. Hoarding is one of those situations and is particularly difficult to address because unlike drugs and alcohol, hoarding can go on for decades and not kill or injure a person. It is also a quiet disease in that people can go to work, church and other family functions and no one can tell that they have any sort of mental illness or problem because it’s hidden at home. If you don’t visit someone’s home you may never suspect that they have this serious issue. Hoarding is thought to affect as many as 5% of Americans (17 million) according to the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation of America.
Like many other addictive personality conditions, hoarding often starts out slowly and does not appear to be a problem. People slowly accumulate personal items just like any normal person would. Americans love “things” and this is no secret. It is when these “things” begin to take over our life and our home that normal behavior crosses over into abnormal behavior and outside intervention is sometimes needed.
Why is it important to address a hoarding issue immediately upon discovering it? The main concern in true hoarding cases is the health of the occupant or occupants. Very often we find that along with the over accumulation of person items such as magazines, clothing and books we find that people are collecting food items. These food items tend to be stored out in the open and are found in varying degree of spoil. When this happens you are inviting mold, bacteria and other dangerous pathogenic organisms into the home. Mold is the number 1 biohazard found in hoarding homes and is the number 1 cause of hospitalization among sufferers. The reason why is simple, not only can fungus (mold) feed on food that is left out, it can feed on magazines, books, clothing, shoes and anything that is organic based (plant, tree).
Since mold is found normally in every home in America in low levels, it is no surprise that populations explode once these nutrient sources are introduced and growth is amazing easy and rapid. Because many people that suffer from hoarding behavior are older they are more susceptible to infections caused by fungus/mold. It is very important to take the appropriate steps to help anyone you suspect of suffering from this condition and get them the help they need sooner than later – contact Eco Tech to learn more about our hoarding cleaning services.