What Causes Compulsive Hoarding?

What Causes Compulsive Hoarding?


Hoarding Affects over 4% of the U.S. Population

Compulsive Hoarding is a mental disorder that affects about 4 percent of the U.S. population. Each case of compulsive hoarding is different and can be triggered by various factors. In 2013 the latest DSM was released, DSM-V, and defined hoarders as a person who, “excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.” Understanding what causes compulsive hoarding is essential to treating it.

There is not one main cause for compulsive hoarding. Though speculation and studies have been conducted linking hoarding to trauma, genetics, and brain abnormalities, none can firmly state they are the sole cause for hoarding. Although it is associated with a distinct abnormality of brain function (American Psychiatric Association) there is not a direct cause and effect relationship. Compulsive Hoarding usually begins in adolescent and teens years and grows in severity as the person ages. There are some risk factors that are linked to hoarding. Traumatic life events can cause someone to cope by hoarding items.


How Family History Can Contribute to Hoarding Disorder

A family history of hoarding can also be a cause of hoarding. If as a child, you grow up with someone who hoards or is close to someone that hoards, it can become a learned behavior. Another factor could be social isolation. People who display antisocial behavior are more likely to hoard, attempting to fill their lives with items instead of people. Many common causes of hoarding begin early on in life and manifest stronger towards middle age. Sometimes it is a fear of being poor and hoarding gives them the feeling of security since they have so much, even if it has no real monetary value. Many times, hoarding is caused by trauma.

Hoarders often being hoarding items after a traumatic life event occurs. Divorce, death or even simpler things such as a child moving out of the home can cause someone to begin hoarding. The loss of a loved one can lead to someone attempting to replace them by compulsively hoarding items such as paper, trash, or animals.


Personalized and Compassionate Plans for Cleanup

Just as each person is an individual, each case of hoarding is different and can be caused by one, or a combination of these factors. Compulsive hoarding can be caused by many of the factors talked about above, and is often in combination with those, a defense mechanism. Hoarders understand that they have all of the items, but do not see that there is a problem with the accumulation of items. It will be difficult to convince a compulsive hoarder that there is an issue.

If you or someone you know is a compulsive hoarder, it is important to seek help.

Confronting someone who hoards will not work towards their recovery, but it can damage your relationship with them. Understand hoarding is a disease, and it can de difficult to deal with alone. Contacting a professional for aid in cleaning and remediating the home is also a good course of action.  


More Information

Here are more resources to help a compulsive hoarder in your life.


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7 Warning Signs Someone You Love Has a Hoarding Problem

7 Warning Signs Someone You Love Has a Hoarding Problem

Critical Warning Signs of Compulsive Hoarding

Cleaning up a hoarder’s house can be a tough project. If you want to intervene before things get that bad, watch out for these 7 signs of compulsive hoarding.

We’ve all seen compulsive hoarders shown on TV, their homes overflowing with random junk and knick-knacks with little value. However, real-life hoarding can be harder to spot and even more difficult to take care of. Helping a hoarder realize that they have a problem is best done before the hoarding gets out of control.

How can you recognize compulsive hoarding before it spirals out of control?

There are some signs that indicate you or your loved ones have turned to compulsive hoarding. Here are a few of the hoarding warning signs that you should watch out for.

What IS Compulsive Hoarding?

Compulsive hoarding is what happens when an individual finds it impossible to get rid of their belongings. It is considered a psychological disorder, as those with hoarding tendencies find it extremely hard to stop collecting items. It can affect both their lives and the lives of those around them.

Individuals with this disorder will continually collect items over their lifetime and hold onto them, storing them away regardless of the item’s actual value. This can make their homes nearly unlivable as the halls and rooms in the home overflow with more and more items.

While hoarders are commonly viewed as filthy people living with their houses full of junk, compulsive hoarding can range from mild to severe in nature. Mild cases may not view their hoarding as an actual problem, making it very difficult to treat.

Signs of Compulsive Hoarding

There are several signs that indicate someone is becoming a compulsive hoarder. Here are some of the signs that you should watch out for.

1. There’s Always Clutter

While everyone’s homes will gather some amount of clutter from time to time, people without compulsive hoarding disorders will go through and clean their homes regularly. Therefore, the clutter is temporary and will disappear over time.

In a hoarder’s home, however, this clutter will never be completely gone. You may notice that more clutter accumulates over time, simply stacking on top of the existing mess. Hoarders have a hard time getting rid of clutter, so you are unlikely to ever see the home truly clean.

2. They Show Emotional Distress Disposing of Items

If you are able to convince a hoarder to clean, they may show extreme distress while in the act of getting rid of items. They may use every excuse they can in order to keep certain items, and when forced into getting rid of something, they may have emotional outbursts.

Pay attention to how your loved ones react as you help them declutter their homes. If they have a hard time choosing between items to part with or show an odd attachment to junk or meaningless items in their home, then they may be showing hoarder warning signs.

3. Your Loved One Doesn’t Invite Others Over

Does your loved one use any excuse they can to meet up anywhere besides their home? If so, they may be hiding their compulsive hoarding disorder.

Having you over to their home means that they will have to explain the clutter and mess that their home has become. By inviting you out somewhere else, they can hide any signs that they have a problem.

Of course, this sign should not be taken on its own, as it doesn’t always indicate issues with hoarding. Make sure to examine other pieces of evidence before jumping to any conclusions.

4. They Have a Shopping Addiction

People with a compulsive hoarding disorder also tend to have shopping addictions. This allows them to add on to their “collection” as much as they want. This may also result in them being unable to pay their bills or purchase necessities.

Pay close attention to your loved one’s spending habits and finances. If you notice anything strange with these habits, you may need to talk with them.

5. You May Not Touch or Borrow Their Possessions

Hoarders have a hard time allowing other people to use, borrow, or even touch their possessions without becoming hostile. Their belongings are theirs alone and cannot be given away or disposed of. After all, you may throw it away or keep it from them after you borrow it.

6. They Have Multiple Pets

Having more pets than a person can reasonably care for is another form of hoarding. This is not only terrible for the owner, but for the pets as well. They won’t receive proper care, food, and treatment, so as soon as you see someone hoarding too many animals, you should call animal control or your local humane society for guidance.

7. You Are Always Talking About Their “Collection”

Hoarders love to talk about the items that they have acquired and will talk endlessly about their collection. You may find your conversations always being brought back to their belongings and the new items they want for their collection.

You may also find yourself constantly talking about the home’s clutter with your loved one. If you are always discussing the state of the home and the items your loved one is accumulating, that’s a good sign that they have a problem.

Care for Your Loved Ones

Treating compulsive hoarding is no easy feat, but your loved one will need all the help they can get while battling their addiction. Treat the situation with love and care, and make sure to get them the help they need through therapy if you are able to. Compulsive hoarding is an addiction, and your loved one won’t be able to battle it on their own.

Are you concerned about one of your loved ones? Do they display any signs of compulsive hoarding?

We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about compulsive hoarding.

Curious about other hoarding facts? You can continue reading our blog for more helpful information.


More Information

Here are more resources to help your loved ones.

Was Your House a Meth House? Here’s How to Tell

Was Your House a Meth House? Here’s How to Tell

biohazard symbol with needles overtop


Critical Signs of a Meth Lab in Your Home

Are you worried your new-to-you home may have once been a meth house? Watch out for these critical signs of a meth lab in your home.

Have you recently bought a home and are now worried that your new dream house once served as an underground crystal methamphetamine lab? You have a reason for concern. While authorities discovered over 84,000 crystal meth labs since 2004, estimates have that at a mere 5% of the total.

The signs of a meth lab can be hard for the untrained eye to see. So hard, you and your home inspector may miss them during the buying process. You should know whether your house was a former meth house for your safety and the safety of your family. Keep a lookout for these top warning signs.


What Is Meth and How Is It Made?

To understand the warning signs of a former crystal meth lab, you first need to know crystal meth production and why it’s so easy to produce in a house. Crystal Methamphetamine, or meth, is a derivative of amphetamine. Amphetamine gained popularity as a nasal decongestant. It is a high-octane stimulant classified as a Schedule II substance by the United States Government.

Over-the-counter cold medicines that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine serve as the base for this drug. These drugs are then combined and cooked with chemicals like acetone, freon, and phosphorous that cause a chemical crystallization to occur.

The ephedrine or pseudoephedrine combines with phosphorous or lithium. The next step is the addition of water. After the water comes a solvent like gasoline or acetone to extract the methamphetamine. The last step involves heat to form crystals. These chemicals found in nail polish remover, brake fluid, anti-freeze, and matches are all hazardous to humans. The crystal meth manufacturing process is very unstable, and a wrong combination of these chemicals can lead to an explosion.


Was Your House a Meth Lab? You Need to Know

Knowing if your home was a meth production facility is important for several reasons. The chemicals used in meth production are hazardous, and their residue lingers in walls and on home surfaces. The pernicious effects of the drug are felt by those living in the midst of its production. Hair samples taken from people who live in a former meth lab tested positive for methamphetamine.

Meth lab contamination leads to a series of illnesses and other health effects in adults and children. Living in a former meth lab can lead to the development of asthma, sleep irregularities, hyperactivity, and ADHD. Not only that, but former drug labs carry other safety issues.

These houses of methamphetamine production are associated with other crimes. If you live in a former drug production hotspot, these unsafe aspects may still exist around you. If you suspect your new home was a meth lab, an investment in a meth lab testing kit is one of the best ways to find out. These home kits test surfaces in your house for harmful meth production chemicals.


Top Signs of a Meth House

When you shop for a new home, you make sure to check things like the foundation. You look for signs of mold and water damage. You check the property to make sure all possible sliding hillsides are secure with retaining walls. You test for radon. Given the proliferation of methamphetamine in America, you should inspect your new home for signs of meth production. Here’s what to look for.


On-site Chemicals

When you walked through the basement, did you notice a more than normal amount of paint cans? People do paint their homes and keep the leftovers. Or did you find it odd there were so many jugs of anti-freeze? Or matches?

Keep an eye out for an excessive amount of these chemicals. It is challenging because many of the items used in meth production are common household items. Be suspicious of an abundance.



If you’re familiar with the television series Breaking Bad, you know that crystal meth production is a form of chemistry. A former meth lab can look like an abandoned high school science class with an abundance of burnt glass beakers and tubes. Keep an eye out for items like abandoned propane grill tanks with blue corrosion around the nozzle or coffee filters with weird green stains. Another tell-tale sign of a meth lab is an abundance of burnt aluminum foil.


Wall Stains

Meth production creates iodine byproducts. These yellow or red stains on the walls could be a sign of its presence. If this harmful byproduct is present in your home, all drywall must be removed to ensure the safety of current occupants. The presence of iodine byproducts can cause serious health ramifications.


Strong, Unidentified Odor

When you walk through your prospective new home, do you notice an odd odor? Not rank like a sewage line leak or musty like a damp basement, but something else unpleasant? Meth production omits a strong odor from the chemicals used.

This scent lives in the walls and lingers long after production ceased. A strong odor accompanied by stained drains is a big indicator of a former meth lab.


Check the Database

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) keeps a registry of all houses that were identified as clandestine drug labs. This list is available to the public and is a great resource to check. With this list, you can also see if any homes in your new neighborhood were once drug labs.


Learn the Signs of a Meth Lab

If you’re in the market for a new home, you need to know the signs of a meth lab. Buying a home that housed a meth operation means exposing yourself and your family to harmful chemicals.

Look for signs like excessive amounts of household chemicals, odd-colored stains, and strong odors you can’t identify. If you suspect your house is a former meth house, make sure you consult a professional for a test and clean-up.

Are you suspicious your new home was a drug house, or are you in need of clean-up solutions? Contact us today for an estimate.  


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      We Clean Up Life's Accidents

      Our compassionate crew members across the Nation have a plan to get you back to what matters. Give us a call 24/7 for help with emergency cleaning and property restoration: (833) 804-6600 or Find Your Location

      (833) 804-6600 | Copyright © 2022 Spaulding Decon | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy & Terms



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      6 Key Reasons to Safely Dismantle Homeless Encampments

      6 Key Reasons to Safely Dismantle Homeless Encampments

      6 Key Reasons to Safely Dismantle Homeless Encampments

      A homeless encampment can pose critical health threats to nearby communities. Learn why it’s important to dismantle them and protect your neighborhood.

      If the number of homeless people in the US was shocking in 2019, we can only imagine how much worse the problem could become during the pandemic.

      One study predicts a staggering 45% increase in homelessness in 2020 due to job loss and other factors. This means, in addition to the 568,000 people already sleeping on the streets, another 250,000 could soon join them.

      Although some cities are taking positive steps forward, homelessness is a complex problem that won’t be solved overnight. As people drift from one homeless encampment to the next and their population grows, so do the biohazardous dangers inherent to living outdoors.

      Is there an abandoned homeless encampment in your neighborhood or city? Are you considering hiring a professional company to come in and clean it up?

      In this post, we’ll briefly discuss the safety concerns of homeless encampments. We’ll also explain why it’s so important to properly dismantle, clean, and disinfect these areas. Keep reading to learn more.

      Homeless Encampments: How Widespread Is the Problem?

      Homeless encampments exist in every state, but some areas have especially high numbers of people living on the streets.

      The urban areas with the highest number of homeless people include:

      • New York City, New York
      • Los Angeles & LA County, California
      • Seattle & King County, Washington
      • San Diego & San Diego County, California
      • San Jose, Santa Clara, & Santa Clara County, California

      As of 2019, there were an estimated 568,000 homeless Americans scattered throughout the nation. Although the highest concentration lives in New York, around 70% of them are able to sleep in the city’s homeless shelters.

      On the west coast, the situation is dire. With over 108,000 people without homes, California has more than half (53%) of all unsheltered homeless people in the US. This is nine times more than Florida, the state with the next highest number.

      In Los Angeles County alone, over 60,000 people are homeless. More than 75% of them live outdoors, which brings us to the main topic of our discussion: health and safety concerns.

      Biohazardous Dangers of Homeless Encampments

      There are inherent risks that come with living outdoors. When throngs of people band together living outdoors, without access to proper waste disposal, these risks increase exponentially.

      Whether cleaning an abandoned homeless encampment or “sweeping” one where people still reside, it’s vital to take special precautions. Here are six key concerns for dismantling and cleaning homeless encampments.

      1. COVID-19

      To prevent the spread of COVID-19, people need to practice physical distancing, wash their hands frequently, and wear face masks.

      Unfortunately, few homeless people have access to any of these measures. Homeless encampments are often crowded and dirty, with no running water or protective equipment available.

      Commendably, some cities like Phoenix have taken steps to assist their homeless population during the pandemic. Overall, though, homeless people remain at high risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Because their underlying health is often poor, they’re also at higher risk for complications.

      2. Hepatitis A

      In 2018, more than 700 homeless people in California got sick from an outbreak of Hepatitis A. In response, the California Department of Health distributed over 120,000 vaccine doses to local health departments.

      As long as homeless encampments exist, however, the risk of Hepatitis A will be high. The disease is spread mainly through contact with infected feces — a legitimate concern where people lack access to basic plumbing. The disease can also spread through illicit drug use in settings with limited hygiene.

      3. Diseases Spread by Fleas & Lice

      Some diseases the world hasn’t seen since medieval times are making a resurgence in the homeless population. One of these is typhus, an illness spread through infected fleas that live on rats and other animals.

      Washington state recently saw outbreaks of Shigella and Bartonella Quintana infections. These rare diseases are spread through body lice on homeless people or animals that live in the area.

      These diseases are insidious and potentially deadly, making it vital to disinfect and decontaminate any areas of concern.

      4. Respiratory Diseases

      COVID-19 might be in the headlines right now, but that doesn’t mean other respiratory illnesses are any less real.

      Across the nation, people who live in homeless encampments are at a high risk of contracting:

      • Tuberculosis
      • Influenza
      • Pneumonia
      • Diptheria
      • Meningococcal disease

      With limited access to healthcare and crowded living conditions, an outbreak of respiratory disease can quickly spread through a camp and into the neighboring communities.

      5. Fires

      Whether abandoned or lived in, homeless encampments pose a serious fire hazard. All it takes is one spark from a lighter or passing vehicle to ignite the cardboard and other debris that are usually present in these camps.

      One such event recently made headlines in Berkeley, California, when a homeless encampment off Interstate 80 went up in flames.

      6. Death

      Tragically, homeless people often experience poorer health and much shorter lifespans than those who live indoors. In 2018 in Los Angeles County, 918 homeless people died on benches, sidewalks, and railroad tracks.

      Those who die in a homeless encampment pose a serious health risk to everyone nearby and those who clean the area afterward. This is why it’s so important to hire trained professionals who know how to safely clean an area where death has occurred.

      Is There a Homeless Encampment Near You?

      Hopefully, with enough coordinated efforts from the local and federal government, a day will come when there isn’t a single homeless encampment in America.

      Until then, each community needs to do what it can to help and protect its citizens — wherever they happen to live.

      Is there an abandoned homeless encampment in your neighborhood? Are you working with your local city council to find cleanup solutions?

      If so, we can help. Our professional cleaning services are designed to remove biohazardous dangers safely and completely, protecting the health of everyone in the area.

      Click here to learn more about our biohazard remediation services for homeless encampments and other risky settings. We operate in many different states and you can reach out to your nearest Spaulding Decon location below:

          5 Steps to Preparing Your Business for Another Pandemic Wave

          5 Steps to Preparing Your Business for Another Pandemic Wave

          How a Coronavirus Cleaning Company Helps You Prepare for a Third Wave

          Ensuring you have the best coronavirus cleaning company will allow your company to continue prospering no matter what the next wave looks like.

          It’s no secret that COVID-19 has drastically reshaped countless industries across the entire world. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that there will be a surge in new cases as 2020 comes to a close.

          This means entrepreneurs need to prioritize planning for this scenario as early as possible (such as employing the right coronavirus cleaning company). But, not everybody knows how to go about it.

          Not quite sure how to begin? We’ve got all the info you need. Let’s explore everything you should keep in mind.

          1. Consider Your Biggest Risks

          One of the most important steps that you can take involves assessing the biggest risks 
that your company faces. This will heavily vary depending on what industry your company operates in.

          For example, those who own businesses and the entertainment or hospitality industries will have to plan much differently than a software development company. Some industries also have far more rules to adhere to than others, making it difficult for some companies to adapt.

          To help ensure that your strategy caters to these needs, it’s recommended to make a list of the factors that are most likely to cause issues during the third wave of COVID-19. 
From here, you can develop the appropriate course of action for each incident to help you stay fully prepared.

          2. Take Preemptive Measures

          Of course, it’s not recommended to be entirely reactionary when it comes to dealing with COVID-19 complications. Instead, you should take as many preventive measures as possible so that you can circumvent having to scramble in response.

          Once you have your risk factors established, you can then begin to implement safeguards that help manage these potential issues before they begin to impact your productivity. Regardless of what industry you operate in, sanitization is something that should be heavily prioritized so that you can keep your employees, clients, and customers safe.

          Foregoing this obligation also puts you at risk of violating health code regulations, something that can have significant consequences in the future. Since these often result in additional downtime, you should avoid violating any standards at all costs.

          3. Optimize Your Business’s Remote Infrastructure

          The initial wave of COVID-19 resulted in more businesses than ever before allowing their employees to work from remote locations. While this played a large role in maintaining productivity, this also came with a significant number of risks.

          For example, hackers quickly noticed that the remote infrastructure of many small businesses wasn’t configured to fully protect against cyber attacks. Many companies saw an increase in phishing scams, and some companies even experienced data breaches as a result of hacking.

          Since the cybercrime industry will be worth over $6 trillion By the time the next COVID-19 wave ends in 2021, it’s more important than ever before to prioritize this level of security. Otherwise, you could easily find yourself struggling to recover from compromised data.

          As previously mentioned, businesses in certain industries have different sets of regulations to adhere to. Those who work in the healthcare industry, for example, must remain compliant with the guidelines of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

          If data is not properly secured, the business owner could incur fines, penalties, etc.

          4. Learn From Past Mistakes

          What are the most efficient ways to prepare for the future is to reflect on the mistakes your business made during the initial COVID-19 outbreak. For instance, many companies failed to realize how severe the situation was and ended up experiencing negative consequences as a result.

          With this information in mind, you can work toward preventing the same scenario from occurring twice. This means that you should heavily prioritize following safety regulations as close as possible, as this is one of the main issues that businesses had to deal with.

          Even companies that operate outside of the entertainment or hospitality industries still found themselves having difficulty in accommodating the long-term closures.

          A common scenario also involved businesses struggling to adapt to the digital landscapes ushered in by COVID-19. Those businesses in particular now have fully operational websites and digital infrastructure in place, allowing them to better accommodate the third COVID-19 wave.

          5. Eliminate Unnecessary Expenses and Establish New Revenue Streams

          You should fully prepare for your revenue to take a sharp dip as the year comes to an end. The best way to do so is by cutting out unnecessary expenses and working to establish additional revenue streams for your company.

          Once again, your course of action will highly depend on what industry your company operates within. Additionally, some businesses will find this far easier to do than others.

          With less overhead, each month that you don’t need your revenue goals will be far more manageable than if you had made no changes at all. This becomes increasingly true with each additional revenue stream that you’re able to implement.

          Unfortunately, the third wave of COVID-19 Is projected to last a handful of months. So, you’ll need to take action as quickly as possible— it may not be feasible to generate additional income as new cases surge.

          Finding the Right Coronavirus Cleaning Company Can Seem Complicated

          But the above information will make the process far smoother.

          From here, you’ll be able to ensure that you take the above steps and find a coronavirus cleaning company as quickly as possible to protect your business.

          Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to reach out to one of our locations today and see how we can help.

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