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Hoarding Disorder

Mindy Lawrence

When you think of hoarding, you may think of grandma’s 400 coffee cups or your friend’s 1500 books, but hoarding and collecting are different matters. In hoarding, a person has difficulty getting rid of possessions because of a possible need for them later on. They may collect paper, clothing, clothing, or animals. The objects they save don’t usually have value to anyone but them. It can be related to compulsive buying or the attainment of free objects.

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, hoarders may show these symptoms and behaviors.

· Inability to throw away possessions
· Severe anxiety when attempting to discard items
· Great difficulty categorizing or organizing possessions
· Indecision about what to keep or where to put things
· Distress, such as feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed by possessions
· Suspicion of other people touching items
· Obsessive thoughts and actions: fear of running out of an item or of needing it in the future; checking the trash for accidentally discarded objects
· Functional impairments, including loss of living space, social isolation, family or marital discord, financial difficulties, health hazards

To the non-hoarder, there seems to be no reason for these actions. To the hoarder, there’s a concern that the articles they gather will be important someday.

Hoarding might be a symptom of other disorders like eating disorders, psychosis, or dementia. It also is detrimental to a person’s quality of life. It can become a legal battle and contribute to the breakup of families.

Those who exhibit these symptoms should seek a mental and emotional health specialist. It’s a difficult problem to solve and most individuals will not know what will help people with this condition.


Hoarding Disorder, Cleveland Clinic

Hoarding: The Basics, ADAA

What is Compulsive Hoarding? International OCD Foundation

Hoarding Disorder, Mayo Clinic

What is Hoarding Disorder? American Psychiatric Association



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