Hoarding is a complex and often misunderstood behaviour that has gained significant attention in recent years, thanks in part to television shows and media coverage. But is hoarding a mental illness, or is it merely a bad habit? At Bio-Clean, we understand the sensitive nature of hoarding situations and aim to shed light on this issue. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of hoarding and explore its connection to mental health. By the end, you’ll understand why it’s crucial to approach hoarding cleanup with compassion and empathy.

Understanding Hoarding

Hoarding is not just about collecting too many possessions; it goes much deeper than that. It is characterized by a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with items, regardless of their actual value. Individuals who hoard often accumulate a vast quantity of items, which can lead to clutter, disorganization, and unsanitary living conditions.

Is Hoarding a Mental Illness?

Yes, hoarding is considered a mental illness. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), hoarding disorder is recognized as a distinct mental health condition. It is classified under the category of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, which suggests a strong connection to obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

Key Symptoms of Hoarding Disorder

⦁ Persistent difficulty discarding possessions: Individuals with hoarding disorder have intense emotional attachments to their possessions, making it extremely challenging for them to get rid of even seemingly insignificant items.

⦁ Accumulation of items: Hoarders collect a wide range of items, often resulting in cluttered and unsafe living environments.

⦁ Distress and impairment: Hoarding often leads to distress in the individual’s life, as well as significant impairment in their ability to function normally, such as difficulty with hygiene, social relationships, and daily activities.

The Mental Health Connection

⦁ Obsessive-Compulsive Nature: Hoarding behaviour shares similarities with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as both conditions involve persistent, intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviours. The act of hoarding is often driven by an overwhelming need to prevent harm, even when the harm is not realistic.

⦁ Anxiety and Depression: Many hoarders also suffer from anxiety and depression, which can exacerbate their hoarding tendencies. The overwhelming clutter and disarray in their living spaces can contribute to feelings of hopelessness.

⦁ Trauma and Grief: Hoarding may also be a response to trauma, grief, or loss. Some individuals develop hoarding behaviour as a way to cope with past traumatic experiences.

Our Approach at Bio-Clean

At Bio-Clean, we understand that hoarding cleanup is not just about tidying up a messy space; it involves addressing the underlying mental health issues that drive the behaviour. We take a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to hoarding cleanup. Our trained professionals are not only experts in cleaning and organizing but also skilled in handling delicate situations with empathy and understanding.


In conclusion, hoarding is indeed a mental illness, recognized as hoarding disorder in the DSM-5. This condition is characterized by a persistent difficulty discarding possessions, the accumulation of items, and significant distress and impairment in daily life. It is closely related to obsessive-compulsive behaviour and often co-occurs with anxiety and depression.

At Bio-Clean, we believe in approaching hoarding cleanup with the utmost compassion and professionalism. We understand the mental health aspect of hoarding and strive to help individuals and families regain control of their living spaces and, in turn, their lives. Our trained team is dedicated to providing the support and care needed to navigate the challenging process of hoarding cleanup. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist in restoring a safe and healthy living environment for you or your loved ones.

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