Diogenes syndrome is a complex and often misunderstood condition characterized by compulsive hoarding, neglect of cleaning and hygiene, social withdrawal, and reluctance to leave the home. People with Diogenes syndrome are often isolated from society, their unique behavior creating a world that exists only for themselves. But what is the exact cause of this behavioral disorder? In this article, we’ll explore the psychology behind Diogenes syndrome, its etiology, and its symptoms, so you can get an idea of ​​how it affects those who suffer from it.

How can we define Diogenes syndrome?

In psychology, Diogenes syndrome is an acquired behavioral disorder characterized by extreme self-neglect, sloppy living conditions, and social alienation, often combined with the compulsive hoarding or acquisition of possessions.

How to recognize it?

Diogenes syndrome usually occurs in older people and presents as a series of physical, behavioral and psychological characteristics. Some of the most common include: Hoarding items and living in unsanitary conditions.

  • Radical changes in hygiene habits.
  • Extreme social withdrawal.
  • Apathy towards appearance.
  • Compulsive shopping.
  • The neglect of medical problems.
  • Normal or even excessive consumption of alcohol and/or drugs.

Other signs and symptoms may be present, including:

  • Self neglect.
  • The confusion.
  • Anxiety.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Irritability.
  • Aggression towards others.
  • Unusual eating habits.

What can trigger Diogenes syndrome?

Psychological risk factors include:

  • A history of childhood abuse or neglect.
  • A serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
  • Social isolation.
  • The Depression.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Difficulties coping with difficult life situations.

Physical risk factors can include:

  • Chronic health problems such as obesity or diabetes.
  • Advanced age.
  • Certain medications that affect mood or cognition.

Several scenarios can trigger Diogenes syndrome.

Diogenes syndrome is often linked to extreme hoarding tendencies in those affected. When a person suffers from a long-term illness that is difficult for them to bear or understand, they may experience a feeling of helplessness that triggers the urge to hoard possessions for fear of losing them. Which ultimately leads to Diogenes syndrome.

Similarly, when a person experiences extreme loneliness accompanied by negative emotions such as guilt or shame due to past experiences such as childhood trauma or neglect, they may become increasingly more reclusive and retreating to her own home where she begins to hoard items excessively. This phenomenon can progress to Diogenes syndrome when the person’s living space becomes so crowded that it begins to hamper their ability to function normally in daily life.

The need to hoard objects seems to become more intense when people with Diogenes syndrome experience additional emotional distress or mental illness. This justifies the maintenance of their behavior despite the harmful consequences associated with it. However, it is important to note that hoarding behaviors are not necessarily a sign of Diogenes syndrome. Other pathologies, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), present similar characteristics, but without reaching the same level of disorganization and disorder as Diogenes syndrome.

Diogenes syndrome: who to consult?

When dealing with Diogenes syndrome, it is important to consult a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. This disorder can be difficult to diagnose, as the signs and symptoms may overlap with those of other psychological disorders. It is therefore essential to seek the help of professionals who have experience in recognizing and treating this disorder.

Diagnosis is usually based on an assessment of the person’s reported experiences and behaviors. To make an accurate diagnosis, one must consider the person’s full behavioral history, including any mental health problems they may have had in the past. In some cases, additional tests will be used, such as blood work, to rule out any physical causes, such as thyroid disorders or electrolyte imbalances that could mimic the symptoms of Diogenes syndrome.

Diogenes syndrome: what treatments are considered?

If you or someone close to you shows signs of this disorder, it is important to seek professional help immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition, but may involve:

  • A psychotherapy.
  • Medication management (such as antidepressants).
  • Lifestyle changes (such as proper nutrition).
  • Supportive care (from family members).
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or other types of interventions tailored to individual needs.
  • Early intervention leads to better long-term results, so don’t be afraid to seek help if needed.
* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.