A person with hoarding disorder usually is afflicted with other types of mental health conditions. These include depression and anxiety. In addition, many people engaged in hoarding behavior or with a diagnosis of hoarding disorder will feel shame. In point of fact, there are instances in which a person with hoarding behavior or hoarding disorder will experience what is known as a shame spiral.
You may be like most people and not be particularly familiar with the concept of shame spirals. Through this article we provide you an overview of hoarding disorder and shame spirals.
The topics we will cover in this article include:
- Definition of shame
- Definition of shame spiral
- Definition of hoarding disorder
- Examples of what can trigger a shame spiral
- Shame spiral and hoarding
- Shame spiral, hoarding, and mental health intervention
- Professional hoarder property cleanup
Definition of Shame Spiral
First coined by clinical psychologist Gershen Kaufman in his 1992 book Shame: The Power of Caring, shame spirals are triggered by an unsettling event. This could be something small, such as rejection from a friend or an off-hand comment from a colleague, up to, and including, cases of severe trauma. In response to this event, the focus turns inward as the initial event is played over and over again in our minds. We start to spiral, and the more shame we feel, the more things we find to be ashamed of.
Examples of What Can Trigger a Shame Spiral
As mentioned a moment ago, a number of types of incidents can result in the triggering of a shame spiral – from seemingly small incidents to traumatic events. These include:
- illness or injury
- a breakup or divorce
- comments on social media
- job loss
- poor academic performance
- offhand criticism from a friend or family member
As will be discussed in a moment, hoarding and the impact it has on a hoarder’s home and life can result in the triggering of a shame spiral.
Shame Spiral and Hoarding
In some cases, a shame spiral will trigger hoarding or contribute to a person’s compulsion to hoard. Mental Health professionals have concluded that some people in a shame spiral will experience relief from their feelings of shame, from their spiraling shame, by spending their time in the midst of the items they have hoarded. The stark reality is that for some people with hoarding disorder, they may reach a point in their lives that the only real satisfaction or joy they find in their lives is when they are doing things associated with their hoard and with hoarding.
Shame Spiral, Hoarding, and Mental Health Intervention
A shame spiral can have profoundly negative mental health consequences. A person in a shame spiral that arises from hoarding can experience profound depression, anxiety, or both. There can be some other types of emotional issues that can arise as well.
The key to prevent, contain, or reverse a shame spiral as well as address any other emotional or mental health issues that might arise from hoarding disorder is obtaining professional support and assistance from an experienced mental health professional. At his juncture in the 21st century, there are mental health professionals who now have strong backgrounds in working with people who have hoarding disorder. They are adept at addressing the various associated conditions and issues that can arise when an individual is afflicted with hoarding disorder, including shame and a shame spiral.
For most people with hoarding disorder, they are best served continuing treatment or counseling for a period of time following the cessation of hoarding activities and the restoration of a house to a livable condition. By taking this course, the prospect of some type of relapse into hoarding behavior associated with the disorder of the same name is diminished and rather significantly so. Without ongoing treatment or counseling, the prospect of hoarding behavior and hoarding disorder relapse is significant.
Professional Hoarder Property Cleanup
An aspect of a shame spiral can be the wrecked states of a person’s house after hoarding has progressed into a state where the premises are barely habitable. A person in such a situation typically lacks the wherewithal to address hoarder property cleanup on his or her own. In fact, the idea of one person tackling hoarder property cleanup alone isn’t even a reasonable expectation.
A person battling shame will also not be particularly open to friends or family members taking part in hoarder property cleanup. This leaves one other alternative: hiring a professional hoarder property cleanup company like Eco Bear.
The team at Eco Bear has the experience, equipment, and other resources necessary to undertake thorough, comprehensive hoarder property cleanup. Moreover, the team at Eco Bear has the compassion and understanding necessary to effectively undertake hoarder property cleanup in a respectful manner that doesn’t add to the existing burden of a person dealing with hoarding disorder.