Hoarding Disorder: Reasons, Signs, Risks, And Diagnosis

    Do you have trouble parting with things you haven’t used in a while and probably don’t need? Are you filling your home with random things and throwing them around in disarray? Chances are you’re suffering from hoarding disorder.

    This disorder affects about 2–5 percent of the population and starts as early as in your teenage years, becoming more observable with age. The things you hoard or end up piling on are what others may find worthless. These include items like old newspapers and magazines, old books, clothes that don’t fit or are worn out, junk mail, bills, receipts, and packaging material like cardboard boxes.

    Want to know more? Read on to understand everything you need to know about hoarding disorder.

    Reasons For Hoarding

    You May Have Hoarding Disorder If You See Value In Junk Or If You Have A Family Member Who Hoards

    The reasons for hoarding aren’t fully understood. However, here are a few.

    • You feel like all the things you own are likely to be valuable
      or of some use to you in the future.
    • You have family members who hoard.
    • You had a deprived childhood with the lack of material objects.
    • You are emotionally attached to most of your possessions.

    Signs You May Be A Hoarder

    You Are Likely To Be A Hoarder If You Have Difficulty Throwing Away Possessions You Don’t Use And Are Attached To Them

    You might be suffering from hoarding disorder if you possess the following traits:

    • Inability to throw away possessions
    • Difficulty in organizing possessions
    • Anxiety when attempting to throw things away
    • Attachment to possessions and refusing to let anyone touch or use them
    • Fear of needing possessions of no value in the future

    Risks Of Hoarding Disorder

     Hoarding Is Likely To Negatively Affect Your Health And The Way You Function Socially

    Hoarding disorder could hamper the way you live your life by affecting how you function socially and by putting you at risk to health

    hazards. Here are a few ways hoarding is likely to cause problems for you.

    • All the clutter you constantly surround yourself with is bound to lead to a lack of functional living space.
    • You are likely to experience a great deal of discomfort when someone tries to clear your mess. This can lead to constant arguments with family and people you’re close to, affecting your social relationships.
    • The unusable or broken objects and appliances you hoard are likely to subject you to safety concerns.
    • Your hoarding habit may lead to unhygienic living conditions, resulting in breeding areas for rodents and insects.

    In some cases, serious issues like depression, schizophrenia, or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may also manifest as hoarding.1

    Diagnosis Of Hoarding Disorder

    It Is Important To Tackle Hoarding Disorder As Soon As It Is Identified

    More often than not, hoarding disorder goes undiagnosed. This is because those who suffer from it are unlikely to see it as a problem. Sometimes, they don’t even realize

    how it is affecting their lives and the lives of the people around them. Even if they do identify the disorder as a problem, they may not be willing to seek help because they might feel humiliated or ashamed. If you identify with any of the signs or know someone who identifies with them, ensure that you tackle the problem at the earliest to avoid any future problems.

    Hoarding Versus Collecting: Are They The Same?

    Collecting Involves Accumulating Valuable Things, While Hoarding Involves Accumulating Things With Little Or No Value

    If you’re a hoarder, you’re bound to think of the things you collect as valuable. This may make you assume that you are a collector. If this is the case, know that hoarding is not the same as collecting.

    • Collectors keep the items they collect in an organized manner. These items usually have monetary value. So, they feel a great sense of pride and joy in displaying them and tend to talk about them often.
    • Hoarders,
      on the other hand, keep their possessions haphazardly in their living space. They also feel uncomfortable when others touch or see their possessions.

    It’s extremely important to tackle a hoarding problem when you see or identify it. Leaving it be will result in unhealthy living conditions and health problems to the hoarder and his or her family members.