What is Hoarding Disorder?
Hoarding disorder is a complex psychological disorder that can significantly disrupt a person’s life. Hoarding occurs when a person acquires and saves possessions that have either little or no value (or have some perceived value), and the person then has great difficulty in discarding their possessions. Common characteristics within this disorder include significant clutter at home, often to the point where pathways need to be made to walk around, and feeling suspicious of other people touching possessions (or throwing them away).
The behavior can be a result of many different conditions, including OCD, personality traits, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, as well as neurobiological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disorder and Dementia.
Hoarding behavior can often lead to other problems. It is common for hoarders to have interpersonal difficulties, family tension, poor self-esteem, poor social skills, weak decision-making skills, occupational issues, and even legal issues. In addition, there are physical risks, such as falls and fires within the home environment. Often associated with anxiety, OCD, OCPD and depression, hoarding can affect people’s lives across all levels of functioning. It is common for individuals with hoarding disorder to have interpersonal difficulties, family tension, poor self-esteem, poor social skills, weak decision-making skills, occupational issues, and even legal issues. In addition, there are physical risks, such as falls and fires within the home environment.
Hoarding vs. Collecting
Common symptoms of hoarding disorder include collecting and saving items that others may think of having none to little value. It is different from an individual is a collector. A collector takes pride in their collections and typically displays them in an organized way. A collector is typically selective about the items he/she will acquire, thinking about whether buying an additional item to add to the collection will be worthwhile. They will also be comfortable sharing their collection with others. For example, someone who collects antique perfume bottles may have them on a shelf and can tell others some information about their collection. S
Someone who suffers from hoarding, on the other hand, is unable to display or categorize their items. The items are mixed into unorganized piles without the intent to display the items. He/she may be embarrassed by their items and be unable to invite people into their home. Hoarding disorder also leads to clutter which may take up functional/useful space in the home. Indivdiuals struggling with hoarding disorder may suffer rom depression and social isolation.