THURSDAY: AWARENESS DAY--Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Hoarding rarely happens without some other mental illness present. Back in March, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Mental Health Association of San Francisco Institute on Compulsive Hoarding and Cluttering's 13th Annual Conference. Dr. Christiana Bratiotis (Ph.D, LCSW) was the keynote speaker, and she shared new findings from a brand new study.

One of the things they shared was the co-morbidity (indicates a medical condition existing simultaneously but independently with another condition in a patient) of hoarding and other mental illnesses:

In a group of 217 subjects, those affected by other disorders and the breakdown:

Major Depressive Disorder 69.1%
Social Phobias 28.3%
Generalized Anxiety Disorder 24.9%
Specific Phobias 16.1%
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 12.4%
Substance Abuse 12.0%
Bipolar Disorder 1.4%
Panic Disorder 1.4%
Eating Disorder 1.4%

(Frost, Steketee, Tolin, Glossner. 2011--Comorbidity in hoarding disorder)

Of course, this is a very small sample, but it still shows that depression and related disorders occur with hoarding in large numbers. In my family, I know that bipolar and depression are present. But in many circles and families, admitting to having depression is seen as a character flaw. It's estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

I truly believe that depression magnifies hoarding tendencies.

If you, or someone you love, seem to be suffering from depression, you are not alone. There are lots of resources available, and I highly recommend starting here, at the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

I am battling depression myself. It doesn't make me a bad person. It simply means that my "glass half full" outlook tends to be flooded by fatigue and a sense of hopelessness and being overwhelmed. But I recognize its symptoms in myself, I seek counseling and if necessary medication. I don't have to suffer in silence. No one does, and no one should.


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