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Hoarding is a psychiatric disorder affecting an estimated five percent of the U.S population. Categorized under obsessive-compulsive disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®) hoarding involves a person compulsively buying, acquiring and saving a wide variety of items that typically have little value. Hoarders refuse to throw away anything in which they come to possess and suffer severe anxiety/panic symptoms just thinking about discarding these items. Additionally, hoarders resent anyone touching or moving their possessions and almost always deny they have a problem, even though they may have to step over huge piles of stuff to walk through their home.
Why Hoarder Homes Should be Considered Biohazardous Areas
Hoarders who spend years accumulating massive amounts of items cannot properly clean their home. When hoarder homes are discovered, they are usually in poor condition due to rodent and cockroach infestations, mold growth, animal feces lying beneath piles of trash and lack of running water or electricity. Hoarders are usually too embarrassed to have someone enter their home to repair broken toilets and sinks. Consequently, they may resort to using buckets as toilets while letting dirty dishes pile up in the sink. In fact, many hoarder homes are condemned upon being discovered and deemed a biohazard by local health department officials.
Health and Safety Risks of Hoarding
Animal feces contain pathogens capable of infecting humans with serious diseases ranging from hantavirus and E. coli to parasitical worms and histoplasmosis. Respiratory and cardiac functioning may be impaired by high ammonia levels emitted by animal feces and urine. Mold growth concealed under rotting clutter and garbage can cause chronic health problems such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, constant low-grade fever and migraines. Long-term exposure to mold may affect cognition and induce neurological disorders as well.
Hoarding Cleanup Services in Santa Monica
When a massive cleanup effort is needed to address hoarding situations, Santa Monica residents rely on Bio SoCal to properly clean a hoard and restore the safety of the home. Licensed by the California State Department of Health, Bio SoCal is equipped with the tools necessary to remove and properly dispose of any hoard. Once we have removed a hoard, we then clean and decontaminate all surfaces in the home to ensure elimination of pathogens, mold and mildew.
Call us today or visit our website to learn more about our hoard cleaning and removal services.