Think about the hit TV show Hoarders. Now, what do you think about when you see these people in their living situations? You think about the times where they opened up on camera about how their house got this bad. And it’s usually linked to mental illness of some kind, usually depression.
We all have clutter in our houses from time to time. We sometimes get lazy and keep putting off our cleaning until next weekend. But is there a more prominent link between house clutter and depression? Studies show that there might be.
There is definitely a noticeable difference between clutter and actual hoarding. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America defines hoarding as, “the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.”
Many hoarders refuse to discard of some personal belongings because they believe it holds special meaning, even when it doesn’t. The ADAA also mentions that depression may be one of the key reasons why someone may have a cluttered house.
There are other mental disorders associated with clutter as well. This includes obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Hoarding (or severe clutter) can also cause depression for the loved ones of the hoarder.
David Tolin, a psychologist who specializes in hoarding, conducted a study that confirmed a definitive link between clutter and depression. He did a lengthy, clinical interview in 136 adults over the age of 18 and 73 of those participants were identified as having a compulsive hoarding problem. Among those 73 participants accompanied higher levels of depression after an assessment was completed.
Professionals provide hopefulness for those who have cluttered their house to the point of no return. They say that there is potential to de-clutter, even if it involves hiring a professional organizer to help. Some basic tips include taking things one day at a time, keeping lists, and challenging oneself to use less. And, most importantly, seeking professional help for any underlying mental illnesses.
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