When life gets busy or starts to feel stressful, cleaning can become less of a priority, resulting in a messy home. This is something that many people experience during difficult periods, but when is this something to be concerned about? Sometimes a messy house is simply a sign of busyness, but it can also indicate an underlying mental illness.
Why Are People Messy?
Some people are naturally messy, but this doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong. Not everyone takes the time to put things in order at the end of the day, making their space feel more chaotic than others. Others simply have busy seasons of life, leaving less time to clean their home. However, there are times when disorganization and clutter are concerning. For example, people who are deep in a depressive state may lack the motivation to take care of themselves and their space. Because of this, their house becomes messy and sometimes uninhabitable.
Messiness and Mental Illness
Major depressive episodes commonly result in a messy home. Symptoms of severe depression that contribute to this include:
- Decreased energy
- Lack of motivation
Most often, it’s a lack of motivation that inhibits someone with depression from keeping up with a cleaning routine. When someone is in this state, they are in survival mode and unable to focus on things beyond their immediate needs. As their house becomes increasingly unkempt, they may feel more overwhelmed by the task of cleaning, making it even more difficult to remedy the situation.
Hoarding is another mental health condition that affects the cleanliness of a person’s home. Sometimes hoarding is linked to depressive symptoms, but it’s most often connected to a person’s deep-rooted beliefs that they must hold on to items for future use. This can come from a lack of resources, instability, or traumatic experiences in their past. This mental health issue commonly results in a house that is so messy it’s unsafe to live in.
Mental Health Benefits of Cleaning
Just as mental illnesses can affect the cleanliness of someone’s home, a messy space can also have a negative impact on a person’s mental health. Research shows that a chaotic living environment results in adverse outcomes for the family. This means that this type of home can create challenges in areas including mental and physical health, social relationships, academic performance, and behavior. A messy house also makes it more challenging for someone to feel relaxed in their home. They may be unable to focus on tasks, see an increase in anxiety, and have increased stress levels.
Messy Homes and Addiction
Substance use disorders are marked by instability and a lack of feeling in control. A messy house can create similar feelings. For those who are struggling with an addiction, it’s important to prioritize the things that provide a sense of consistency. Because these disorders also impact a person’s mental health, it’s not uncommon for their home to become cluttered. However, keeping up with a cleaning routine can bring stability and promote sobriety. Addiction can also impact motivation and general mental health, resulting in a disorganized living space.
Holistic Addiction Treatment at Pillars Recovery
Because addiction and mental health issues frequently co-occur, our treatment program at Pillars Recovery provides comprehensive dual diagnosis care. We understand that there are multiple aspects of a person’s life and experiences that impact sobriety, and individual therapy provides a space to process those life events. Our holistic treatment model promotes healing for the whole person and includes evidence-based care with individualized support. If you are struggling to manage a substance use disorder and are seeing the effects of this in your daily life, contact our treatment center today.