8 Warning Signs Diogenes Syndrome

Diogenes Syndrome is a debilitating behavioral affliction where the sufferer becomes severely neglectful of themselves and their surroundings. It is most often seen in people over the age of 60, though middle-aged adults have also been diagnosed. Approximately 5 in every 10,000 individuals 60 years or older who live alone are diagnosed annually. Patients typically live alone and, while obvious to outsiders, are unaware that there is anything wrong with their living conditions. Symptoms include an extreme lack of personal hygiene, filthy homes, hoarding, withdrawal from social activities and a complete sense of apathy toward their situation. This disregard may stem from denial of the situation. Diogenes Syndrome is triggered as a reaction to an endured stress such as illness, loss of a loved one, addiction or a mental illness. Symptoms develop slowly over a period of time making diagnosis difficult. Early on, they may include inappropriate behavior, a change in personality and a lack of good judgement. Living conditions set the stage for a myriad of problems. The home falls into a state of neglect, leading to animal infestation. It is often through injury or illness that this condition becomes known to friends and loved ones. Diogenes Syndrome can fall into two categories: Primary Diogenes Syndrome and Secondary Diogenes Syndrome. The primary version is diagnosed when there is no accompanying diagnosis of a mental illness. When there is a mental illness present, the secondary version is diagnosed. A doctor will consider the patient’s personal and social history to help determine the presence of Diogenes Syndrome. A physical exam and imaging tests may also be establish any possible underlying causes. Treatment includes the use of medication, cognitive therapy and support groups. The following eight warning signs may indicate medical treatment is necessary.

1. Skin Rashes Caused By Poor Hygiene

Those suffering from Diogenes Syndrome are completely indifferent when in it comes to personal hygiene. It may be days or weeks in between baths, if they cleanse at all. This can lead to dermatological issues. Skin rashes may form on one or more parts of the body, even the scalp. There are many different types of fungi and bacteria that naturally live on the skin. Regular bathing helps to keep these in check. When the skin is not cleaned, these fungi and bacteria can increase uncontrollably causing infections and rashes. Candida, Athlete’s foot, jock itch and tinea are some of the more common rashes that occur. Bathing is the best way to avoid skin rashes as the scrubbing process helps to eliminate dead skin cell, germs and oils; however, for someone suffering from Diogenes Syndrome, the ambition to be clean just isn’t there. Sufferers may also itch or pick at existing rashes, thus causing them to spread further on the body. This discomfort would usually be enough for a person to bathe, but Diogenes Syndrome sufferers may not be conscious of the discomfort or care enough to take steps for relief.