Hoarding disorder can be the cause of a variety of related issues that can have a truly negative impact on a person’s life. In order to fully understand the nature of hoarding disorder, you need develop an understanding of how the tentacles of this condition can reach out and destroy other aspects of a person’s life.
Among the complications that can and do arise from hoarding disorder are:
- Social isolation
- Heightened risk of falls
- Injury from falling items
- Trapped under shifting items
- Unsanitary conditions
- Fire hazard
- Legal issues
- Poor work performance
- Job loss
As a cluttered home progresses to a situation involving the effects of hoarding behavior to the ultimate degradation of a residence as a result of progressive hoarding disorder, a hoarder’s social isolation becomes more intense and pervasive. What began as an inability to welcome people into his or her residence becomes a situation in which a hoarder gradually socializes with very, very few individuals or no one whatsoever.
On a related note, and considering a similar trajectory, a person with hoarding disorder can end up experiencing tremendous loneliness. While much of a hoarder’s self-isolation may be of his or her own making, that doesn’t result in the associated loneliness being life-altering and tragic on many levels.
Heightened Risk of Falls
On the physical front, a person with hoarding disorder faces a heightened risk of falls. As a residence becomes more overwhelmed by the effects of hoarding, as the hoard itself grows with more and more items, walking through a residence can become treacherous. Trip and fall as well as sleep and fall accidents become highly probable for a hoarder as hoarding disorder progresses. Falls are the most common reason people are brought to emergency rooms because of accidents. Clutter and hoarding markedly increases an already significant injury risk.
Injury From Falling Items
Another physical complication associated with hoarding is the real risk of injury from falling objects. Hoarders tend to pile items on top of objects on top of things. The stacks created by a hoarder can be towering and very dangerous. Indeed, every year there are cases in which a person is killed by falling items in a hoarder property.
Trapped Under Shifting Items
On a somewhat related note, another physical complication arising from hoarding is a person getting trapped under shifting items. Unfortunately, because of the typical isolation of a hoarder, an individual trapped in this manner may end up losing his or her life. While a person may not immediately sustain fatal injuries in such a circumstance, with no one coming around, an individual in that position may perish over time.
As hoarding disorder progresses, a residence is likely to become contaminated with biohazards. A hoarder property is very likely to become unsanitary – and significantly so. Unsanitary conditions at a hoarder property can significantly threaten the health of a person living in such a residence.
Hoarding can present what amounts to a significant fire hazard. Oftentimes, a considerable portion of what a person with hoarding disorder amasses are flammable objects. As more and more of these items are aggregated in a hoard, the prospect of a fire is heightened significantly. The fact is that an alarming number of hoarding properties end up with a fire occurring at the premises.
Another rather frequently occurring complication that arises from hoarding is a legal issue or legal issues. One of the more commonplace legal issues is facing the prospect of eviction if a residence is leased. Another legal issue is facing action being taken by the local health department.
Poor Work Performance
A person with hoarding disorder ultimately will begin experiencing issues associated with activities outside of the home. These include a negative impact at work when hoarding disorder progresses. Indeed, work performance can be significantly impaired and include repeated failures of a person with hoarding disorder to report to work.
In nearly all instances when hoarding disorder progresses to a severe state, a person afflicted with the condition will reach a point in time at which the individual becomes unemployed. More often than not, a person with severe hoarding disorder is fired as a result of a failure to satisfy job requirements.
There are also a notable number of cases in which a person with hoarding disorder quits a job on his or her own volition. In some instances, that individual may suspect that termination is in the offing. However, there are also a considerable number of instances in which a hoarder leaves his or her job in order to remain holed up at home with the items he or she is amassing. In addition, there are occasions in which a hoarder elects to quit a job because he or she is no longer able to maintain suitable hygiene because a shower or sink is no longer available at his or her home because of the state of hoarding clutter.