Hoarding: 5 Health Consequences


Hoarding — filling a living space with unused items to the point that that space is unusable — is now a well-known condition thanks to pop culture and TV shows like “Hoarders.” Usually, excessive hoarding is indicative of a larger problem.



It’s often considered a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but could also be a red flag for other issues. Here are some facts about how hoarding is related to larger health issues, including possible causes of hoarding and its consequences.


1. Emotional trauma:

Often, hoarders save items that they think may be useful in the future. In other instances, hoarders are holding on to items with emotional significance, which is often an indicator of deeper problems, like depression.


2. Sanitation:

Hoarding makes it incredibly difficult to keep a living space clean and dust-free. Hoarding may increase allergens in the home or even help pests invade. Some hoarders engage in animal hoarding, which is certainly not sanitary: the more animals in a crowded space, the harder it is to keep clean and safe for humans and animals.


3. Chronic pain:

Some people become hoarders because cleaning and organizing is simply too difficult. Arthritis and chronic pain can cause people who are used to living independently to keep items when they’re no longer able to sort through them and throw them out.


4. Anxiety:

Hoarders hold on to things because they think everything could have a use down the road, and if they no longer have that item, they’ll be caught unprepared. Symptoms of anxiety go hand-in-hand with anxiety; shows like “Hoarders” often exhibit people who are inexplicably anxious when their belongings, which would appear useless to most people, are moved.


5. Risk of fire:

When items are kept together in close quarters, especially stacked papers and magazines, the risk of fire increases. Blocked exits and narrow pathways through the home make escaping a fire difficult.


If you have an elderly relative who has trouble staying organized due to chronic pain, consider helping them clear their living space a bit by renting a storage unit. They’ll continue to live independently, but a less cluttered space will help them stay more organized with less effort. Extra storage isn’t recommended for psychological hoarders: it just gives them more space to store in.


If you think you or someone you know is hoarding, contact a doctor and ask about anxiety and depression.




What is Addiction to Food and How Does it Affect our Health and Relationships


Without air we survive a minute, perhaps 2. Without water we last a few days and without food we will last weeks before we die. That is true of all of us, air, water; food in that order. Food is a foundation of life. But when does a normal physical response to replenish the body’s fuel supply, maintain health and prevent starvation tip over into a food addiction?


How can a foundation of life become both a cure and a curse, from maintaining our bodies to causing problems with self image and relationships?

Often our perceptions about what food can do to us and for us, can lead us to invest too much in its magical qualities. For example, people who have a problem with food often feel that their lives would be so much better if they could just lose weight. They would get a girlfriend or their marriage would improve and they would get that promotion at work. They would look great and feel great. Food is the cause of all this distress so logically denial of it must also be the answer right? Not so simple.


Accepting you may have a problem with food means re-evaluating your entire life, changing the language you use to describe how you eat and what you eat, and the relationships you have.


Firstly, resist using the negative language around food. It is not healthy to think about diets and denial; you are setting yourself up to fail. Better to think about food as a positive experience, giving your body what it needs to survive by avoiding unhealthy choices. Decide to eat only what is ‘healthy and nutritious,’ educate yourself as to what that is, read about food and learn to love the types food that will make you feel and look better.


Secondly, look at your environment and your relationships. Just as food alone can’t make you happy, it can’t make you unhappy, other factors may be feeding your problem. By concentrating only on food and diets the problem becomes too narrow. Set goals outside of food, so that if you do have a cream cake it is not the end of the world; be bolstered by a success in another area of your life.


Thirdly, ask yourself, do you live in a hostile or un-loving environment? Are there factors in your relationships or at work which are making you unhappy? What could you do to change these? Once you have identified what is holding you back, set a realistic goal to improve your life to break the magical ‘cure or curse’ spell food has over you. Food will then become a smaller part of your life, which with the greater attention you are giving it will become rich with new experiences, some successes and some failures.


Creating a healthy environment or getting that promotion still may not make you happy but it will mean you have more time to invest in your relationships and motivate you to stay healthy.

Source: The Couple Connection provides online support to help you identify what is addiction and how it affects your relationships. The Couple Connection provides relationship advice and support to help couples through a library of relationship articles, exercises.



Nicotine – Death Grip Addiction


Positively encouraging someone, especially a friend or loved one to stop smoking is one of the most frustrating things to do. It seems any approach you deliver is met with a defensive attack, or just falls Positively encouraging someone, especially a friend or loved one to stop smoking is one of the most frustrating things to do.



It seems any approach you deliver is met with a defensive attack, or just falls on deaf ears. In fact, you may try so much that you grow weary, thinking that your words have no effect, no impact and why waste your breath? You may feel nothing will work, no words can convey the truth and importance to that person. Well I encourage you to never give up on that close person. Although it may seem your words have no reasoning, they hear you.


Around seven years ago while I was attending college, my favorite professor was a long time smoker. His job, the atmosphere, lifestyle, all contributed to his ease of continuing his smoking habit. I felt for this guy, I was closest to him more than any of my other professors by far, and it pained me to see him over those years smoking.    I could see the extra stress, the mental and physical strain on him from smoking, and knew how much better his indubitable personality and spirit would be minus the habit. I didn’t judge him, I just cared about him and wanted to help.


He was a very intelligent and articulate person, so I never felt like I was wasting my time. Now I remember brief conversations with him about him knowing the importance, and wanting to quit, but nothing lengthy or significant. I never wanted to sound pushy, or like I’m better than a smoker, because that’s never my message. It’s a fine line.


I came across some fliers at a doctor’s office from the American Cancer Society. Inside, it just simply listed a timeline from the minutes you stop smoking your last cigarette to fifteen years after, and what changes occur within the body. I was blown away, and I had no idea these things; it was amazing. So one day I casually handed one to the professor, and I believe I just simply said how I came across them and found them incredibly interesting and enlightening, that’s it.


I graduated and stayed in touch with the professor via facebook, as much as that can mean staying in touch with someone. Just a few years back almost out of nowhere I get a personal message from him that reads like this:


“Hey! I simply needed to tell you that I did indeed FINALLY quit smoking back in January! I have remembered your advice many times and the info you shared with me. I feel so much healthier even after six months as a non-smoker! I was quite surprised by your interest in my habit at the time but now just want to say thanks……so, Thanks!”


For him to take the time to reach out and give thanks is beyond words. It gave me an incredible feeling and emotion I had never felt before. All those years, you just never know how your words impact someone, or if they do. I believed in the professor, and knew that when he got to the right point in his life he would take the time and effort to go after quitting. Sometimes you just have to give that positive reinforcement, and nothing else, give them their time and their terms…but don’t give up on them, don’t quit!


Below is the actual information inside the pamphlet, taken from directly from www.cancer.org

  • 20 minutes after quitting Your heart rate and blood pressure drop. (Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification, Mahmud A, Feely J. 2003. Hypertension:41:183)
  • 12 hours after quitting The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting Your circulation improves and your lung function increases. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323)
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304) 1 year after quitting The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)
  • 5 years after quitting Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years. (A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p 341)
  • 10 years after quitting The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx and pancreas decreases. (A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)
  • 15 years after quitting The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s. (Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007. p 11)


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