Hoarding can be motivated by a number of different underlying factors. One of the more commonplace of these causes is a fear of waste. In this article, we present a discussion of hoarding and a fear of waste.
Saving to Avoid Waste
For many people, they appropriately save things in order to avoid waste. Saving items to avoid waste can be a proper course of action. Unfortunately, for some people the practice of saving things can warp into something entirely different. Saving to avoid waste can turn into a pathological problem. When that occurs, saving things because of a pathological fear of waste can result in hoarding behavior and even hoarding disorder.
Types of Waste to be Avoided
When it comes to a person with hoarding disorder stemming from a fear of waste or fear of wasting things, there can be any one of a number of different types of fear of waste at play. These include:
- Fear of wasting money
- Fear of creating environmental waste
- Preemptively avoiding spending waste
- Fear of wasting a product
- Religious or spiritual fear of waste
Because these types of waste do differ, they necessitate a different approach to be overcome if they reach a level that can be considered pathological. For example, dealing with a pathological fear of wasting money is considerably different from a religious based fear of waste. In other words, a one size fits all approach to dealing with fear of waste as a contributing factor to hoarding disorder does not exist.
Tale of Hoarding Likely Motivated in Part by Fear of Waste
Two New York men ultimately lost their lives in a hoard they created in their home. Some experts have postulated that one of the underlying reasons why these brothers hoarded was a result of their mutual fear of waste. Their story is grim, the stuff of a horror show:
Homer Lusk Collyer and Langley Wakeman, known as the Collyer brothers, were two American brothers who became infamous for their bizarre natures and compulsive hoarding. For decades, the two lived in seclusion in their Harlem brownstone at 2078 Fifth Avenue (at the corner of 128th Street) in New York City where they obsessively collected books, furniture, musical instruments, and myriad other items, with booby traps set up in corridors and doorways to crush intruders. Both died in their home in March 1947 and were found dead (Homer on March 21, Langley not until April 8) surrounded by more than 140 tons of collected items that they had amassed over several decades.
Mental Health Professionals and Fear of Waste Motivated Hoarding
Hoarding is recognized as a mental health disorder. The Mayo Clinic defines hoarding as:
Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.
Hoarding often creates such cramped living conditions that homes may be filled to capacity, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter. Countertops, sinks, stoves, desks, stairways and virtually all other surfaces are usually piled with stuff. And when there’s no more room inside, the clutter may spread to the garage, vehicles, yard and other storage facilities.
If you have a loved one afflicted with what appears to be hoarding disorder, including hoarding disorder that appears to rooted in a pathological fear of waste, that individual is only likely to recover if he or she receives professional assistance from a therapist or counselor. In the 21st century, there are mental health professionals who specialize in working with people diagnosed with hoarding disorder.
Symptoms of a Person with Pathological Fear of Waste Based Hoarding Disorder
The Mayo Clinic has enumerated the symptoms that typically exist in a case of person with hoarding disorder based on a pathological fear of waste. These symptoms are:
- Excessively acquiring items that are not needed or for which there’s no space
- Persistent difficulty throwing out or parting with your things, regardless of actual value
- Feeling a need to save these items, and being upset by the thought of discarding them
- Building up of clutter to the point where rooms become unusable
- Having a tendency toward indecisiveness, perfectionism, avoidance, procrastination, and problems with planning and organizing
Hoarder Property Cleanup Professionals
Many people with hoarding disorder simply do not have the desire or the ability to remediate a hoard that they have created in their own homes. For this reason, people with hoarding disorder – including hoarding disorder rooted in pathological fear of waste – are best served by seeking the services of a professional hoarder property cleanup company like Eco Bear. Eco Bear has the experience, personnel, and resources necessary to efficiently and safely restore a hoarder property to a fully livable condition.