Understanding a Hoarding Disorder

A lot of us hold on to our most treasured items in our homes. From pictures and antiques, to heirlooms and valuables, keeping those things near to us is what makes them special. Though for some, letting go of certain items might be harder to handle.

Compulsive hoarding can be difficult to overcome. People can have a hard time letting go of even the simplest of materials such as magazines and old papers. Making this harder for those around them if they must live in the clutter that’s been created.

It can also make others stay away from coming over and  even cause signs of loneliness. They think to themselves, “I can’t let go of this. What if I need it one day?” People can also see hoarding as not a serious problem and make getting treated challenging. The good news is help is possible. Here are signs and symptoms you can spot for hoarding.

First, it’s important to understand what is hoarding. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, hoarding is the constant difficulty of parting with possessions, regardless of their values. Common hoarded items can be anything from newspapers, magazines, paper, food, cardboard boxes and even plastic bags.

It should also be noted that hoarding isn’t the same as collecting. When it comes collecting a certain thing, people can have a sense of pride about their possessions and will have no problem showing off. Collectors will also keep their items in a nice condition and feel happy about adding more to their collection. Those who hoard usually feel ashamed about their mess and clutter and often don’t want others to see. They can also feel sad and depressed.

Signs that someone can be suffering from a hoarding disorder is the inability to throw away possessions and severe anxiety when attempting to discard items. They can also have great difficulty categorizing or organizing possessions and even have obsessive thoughts and actions of running out of an item.

Knowing what to spot first can also be a key difference. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms start as early as teenage and adult years. By the time the person hits their middle ages, symptoms are much more severe. People with a hoarding disorder can also experience other mental health disorders such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Causes for a hoarding disorder aren’t very clear, but it’s being studied that genetics, brain functions and stressful events might be possible causes.

Ultimately, treatment can be also challenging because many who suffer from a hoarding disorder might not recognize it. If you feel you or someone might be suffering from hoarding, seek professional help as soon as possible.

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