Self-Neglect: 50 Examples You Shouldn’t Ignore

Self-neglect refers to behaviors or situations where an individual fails to attend to their basic needs, health, and well-being. It can manifest in various ways, impacting physical, mental, and emotional health

In this post, we will discuss 50 examples of self-neglect.

Physical Signs of Self-Neglect

  1. Inadequate Personal Hygiene: Not bathing, washing hair, or taking care of general body hygiene.
  2. Poor Nutrition: Skipping meals, not drinking enough water, or relying on unhealthy, processed foods.
  3. Neglecting Medical Needs: Ignoring medical appointments, not taking prescribed medications, or refusing medical assistance.
  4. Wearing Inappropriate Clothing: Dressing in a manner unsuitable for the weather, wearing dirty or tattered clothes.
  5. Lack of Sleep: Extreme irregularities in sleep patterns, such as oversleeping or severe insomnia.
  6. Untreated Physical Illness: Ignoring symptoms of illness for a prolonged period.
  7. Injuries from Falls: Frequent bruises or injuries from falls due to lack of self-care.
  8. Dental Neglect: Not brushing teeth, leading to dental decay and other oral health issues.
  9. Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain: Significant changes in weight without a clear medical reason.

Environmental Indicators of Self Neglect

  1. Unsanitary Living Conditions: Living in spaces filled with garbage, clutter, or spoiled food.
  2. Hoarding Behavior: Compulsively saving items to the point where it becomes a health hazard.
  3. Unattended Pets: Failing to provide animals with food, water, and care.
  4. Unsafe Home: Ignoring necessary home repairs, leading to a dangerous living environment.
  5. Fire Hazards: Accumulation of flammable materials, or improper handling of heating devices.

Behavioral and Emotional Examples of Self Neglect

  1. Social Withdrawal: Avoiding interactions with friends, family, or social events.
  2. Lack of Motivation: Showing indifference towards hobbies, work, or activities previously enjoyed.
  3. Depression: Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness.
  4. Unusual Behavior: Exhibiting paranoia, confusion, or other erratic behaviors.
  5. Substance Abuse: Excessive use of alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal substances.
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Financial Self Neglect

  1. Unpaid Bills: Failure to keep up with rent, utilities, or other essential payments.
  2. Neglected Finances: Mismanaging money, resulting in overspending, or not meeting basic needs.
  3. Reluctance to Discuss Finances: Avoiding conversations about money or finances despite evident issues.

Cognitive Signs of Self Neglect

  1. Memory Lapses: Frequent forgetting of important dates, taking medication, or attending appointments.
  2. Disorientation: Getting lost in familiar places, being confused about the time or date.
  3. Poor Decision Making: Making choices that have a significantly negative impact without realizing the consequences.
  4. Difficulty with Concentration: Having trouble focusing on tasks or conversations.

Health Care Self Neglect

  1. Rejection of Help: Refusing home health care or assistance from loved ones.
  2. Mishandling Medication: Using medication inappropriately (e.g., skipping doses, overdose, or a refusal to take them).
  3. Ignoring Health Advice: Disregarding guidance from healthcare professionals.

Nutrition and Hydration Self Neglect

  1. Lack of Fresh Food: Not having or not buying fresh, healthy food.
  2. Limited Diet Variation: Eating the same meals repeatedly, with little concern for nutritional needs.
  3. Dehydration: Not consuming enough fluids or ignoring signs of dehydration.

Personal Safety Self Neglect

  1. Neglecting to Use Support Aids: Refusing or forgetting to use prescribed aids like glasses, hearing aids, or walkers.
  2. Ignoring Weather Warnings: Going outside without proper protection during extreme weather conditions.
  3. Resisting Safety Measures: Not willing to make adaptations to the home for safety purposes, like installing safety rails.

Psychological Well-being Self Neglect

  1. Low Self-esteem: Speaking negatively about oneself, feeling worthless.
  2. Resistance to Change: Having difficulty adjusting to new circumstances.
  3. Apathy: Displaying a lack of interest or concern about personal welfare.
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  1. Missing Appointments: Consistently not showing up for important meetings or check-ups.
  2. Neglecting Obligations: Failing to perform responsibilities at work, school, or home.


  1. Loss of Contact with Loved Ones: No longer keeping in touch with family and friends.
  2. Unanswered Communications: Not responding to calls, texts, or emails.
  3. Misunderstanding Social Cues: Inability to comprehend or appropriately react to social interactions.

Personal Appearance

  1. Disheveled Appearance: Looking unkempt, with uncombed hair, dirty nails, or stained clothing.
  2. Wearing the Same Clothes: Not changing or washing clothes regularly.

Exercise and Activity

  1. Sedentary Lifestyle: Avoiding physical activity or exercise.
  2. Lack of Outdoor Time: Rarely or never spending time outdoors for fresh air and sunshine.


  1. Defeatist Attitude: Believing nothing will improve regardless of action.
  2. Dismissive of Concerns: Showing indifference when others express worry about the person’s well-being.
  3. Failure to Plan for the Future: Not making necessary arrangements for long-term health or living conditions.


Identifying signs of self-neglect in yourself or someone you care about can lead to positive changes and the necessary intervention. Addressing these issues often requires patience, support, and perhaps professional help.

Remember, neglecting oneself can have far-reaching consequences, not only on an individual’s health and well-being but also on their relationships and overall quality of life. Taking action can be transformative, and it’s never too late to seek support and begin the journey to recovery.