Thanks to its popularization by reality television shows, the public has become more aware of hoarding as a general concept. However, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what exactly hoarding actually is and, more importantly, what it’s not. It’s time to clear up some of the most common myths surrounding this often misunderstood mental health condition so that people can more thoroughly understand the condition as well as the people who deal with it every day.
Myth: All Hoarders Are Just Lazy
When people walk into a hoarder’s house, they often judge them immediately as just being lazy. However, where laziness tends to be a choice, hoarding is an actual mental health disorder according to the DSM (the official book of mental health disorders).
Lazy people have a hard time finding the energy or motivation to sort through and throw away their possessions. Hoarders literally are unable to do it. Getting rid of their belongings actually causes them to feel an onslaught of guilt, anger, fear, and a whole host of other emotions. It’s a lot more nuanced than simply being lazy.
Myth: Hoarders Just Collect Things
Calling a hoarder a collector is just oversimplifying things.
Collectors tend to buy one specific type of item after researching it and seeking it out, where hoarders are generally a lot more diverse and tend to pick things up very spontaneously. Collectors are also very proud of every item they collect, and they like to display them in a prominent place in the home (usually a display case). Hoarders are quite the opposite. Generally, they are embarrassed to welcome people into their homes and their items are randomly placed around the home and often just laying in piles on the floor.
Myth: Hoarding is a New Phenomenon
Hoarding has been documented throughout history and can be traced all the way back to the early 1900s. Originally known as “Collyer Brothers syndrome” after the first recognized hoarders (Harlem, 1947), hoarding is definitely not a new issue.
What has changed over the decades is that it has been studied more, and it is now much more understood on a psychological level. Hoarders are accepted as people who suffer from an often debilitating mental health condition now more than ever before, which is partially thanks to those reality television shows that humanize these people who were previously vilified.
Myth: Hoarders Don’t Know How Bad Their Home Really Is
While people like to tell hoarders that they need to clean up their home, and think that hoarders simply are just not aware how cluttered it is, don’t actually help the situation. Hoarders are usually very aware of how cluttered their home is but can’t just “fix” it like someone without this condition may be able to do. Most hoarders look at all of the things around them and become overwhelmed, and can’t bring themselves to even begin to sort through them. Everything seems important to the hoarder, which creates a vicious cycle and ultimately leads them to not seek out the help they need out of embarrassment and the fear of being judged.
Myth: Hoarders Just Need Organization
While many people have issues with organization, hoarding is not just an issue of disorganization. It’s way more complicated than that. Hoarders that try to simply get organized, without actually addressing and treating the underlying mental health condition, will eventually relapse and continue to hoard. That’s why cleaning and organizing the home alone isn’t enough to truly treat the issue.
Flannery’s Handymen: Providing Expert Hoarding Cleanout & Junk Removal Services in Lynn, Saugus & Revere, MA
Cleaning out a home that has been inhabited by a hoarder can be a very delicate situation. For help with any hoarding cleanout project, contact Flannery’s Handymen! Our team will work with you step by step to make sure the job is done right. To learn more about our hoarding cleanout, moving, storage or junk removal services, call us today. You can contact Flannery’s Handymen by calling (781) 775 – 9943 or by filling out our online contact form.