What To Know About Hoarding

What is hoarding disorder?Are you saving things just in case you might need them someday? Are people upset or embarrassed by your behavior? Do you no longer invite people over to your home because you’ve saved too many things, and yet you feel anxious when you try to throw them away? Then you’re probably suffering from a hoarding disorder.

What is hoarding disorder?

When someone suffers from hoarding disorder, they’re afraid to depart with items – even those that are of very little monetary value. This affects every area of their and their family’s lives (e.g., physical, emotional, social, legal, and financial). Those who hoard items are set apart from other people because of the nature of the items hoarded (e.g., cardboard boxes, magazines, newspapers, photographs, paper, plastic bags, and household supplies). These items are either bought (the person can never pass up a bargain) or compulsively acquired when free. Some people with this form of anxiety disorder also compulsively search for unique items in perfect condition that other people don’t see in this way (e.g., an old container).

Symptoms and Behavior

If your anxiety disorder has resulted in hoarding, here are some of the symptoms and behaviors you may be displaying:

  • You’re unable to throw anything away
  • You experience severe anxiety when you try to throw anything away
  • Your living space is growing smaller and is resulting in health hazards
  • You’re becoming socially isolated
  • Your possessions are causing family or marital discord
  • You’re struggling financially because you keep buying more possessions
  • You suspect other people are touching your things
  • You’re afraid of running out of something you may need
  • You find yourself checking the trash to see if you’ve accidentally discarded anything
  • You can’t organize your possessions
  • You’re indecisive when it comes to deciding what to keep or where to put things
  • You’re overwhelmingly embarrassed by your possessions

What is the difference between hoarding and collecting

Collectors typically feel proud of their possessions which is why they take joy in displaying and talking about them. Usually, these collections are kept neatly organized and well-budgeted in terms of their spending.

On the other hand, those who have hoarding disorder are usually embarrassed by their possessions, feeling uncomfortable when these possessions are seen by others. These possessions aren’t organized, and so they frequently impede the person’s livable space inside their home. This perpetuates the cycle whereby the person who’s hoarding feels ashamed of acquiring additional items for which they may be in debt.

Why do some people suffer from this anxiety disorder?

People hoard because they feel the item will be valuable or useful in the future. The item may also have sentimental value, be unique and irreplaceable, or it was too big a bargain to throw away. Although hoarding is a type of anxiety disorder, it can also be present on its own. If you believe that you or someone you know has a hoarding disorder or an anxiety disorder that may result in hoarding, contact us at the TMS Advantage Clearwater in Clearwater, FL, today.

Picture Credit: iStock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *