The definition of hoarding disorder is characterized into two parts. First of which is the excessive collection of things that have little or no value. The second is the difficulty or inability to discard the acquired things.
People diagnosed with hoarding disorder may gather pretty and useful items like picture frames and figurines, to useless and dirty things like empty cans, old receipts, paper napkins and garbage. Some even hoard animals. A hoarder may keep a lot of animals in their homes, most of which cannot be properly taken care of.
These acquired items that increase in number stack and clutter inside the house making passage through different parts of the house difficult. Because of this, routine daily activities such as sleeping, eating, cooking and taking a bath are interfered as well.
Hoarders won’t freely give up their possessions. Getting rid of them are very difficult on their part because in time, they have developed an attachment to these things. Even if a cleaning crew comes in and clears the clutter, the hoarder will just start accumulating things again without professional help.
Hoarding disorder is a serious condition that requires medical attention. Without medical help, the condition will just worsen. There will be threats to safety as well as health. Hoarding disorder can occur at any age and gender. The onset of this disorder is said to be during the teenage years. However it only becomes noticeable in adulthood.
Hoarding disorder is found to be more common in males than in females. Compulsive hoarders stay single because they are socially withdrawn. They prefer to be isolated from friends and even family members. Most people diagnosed with hoarding disorder can identify other family members suffering from the same problem. Therefore, hoarding disorder is genetic.
There are a lot of identified caused for hoarding. These include a problem in processing information, beliefs and practices about acquired items and emotional anxiety associated with the discarding of these items. To a compulsive hoarder, every item they come into is of great value. They hang on to these possessions because they believe they will come in handy in the future.
Signs and symptoms of hoarding disorder include the following: irrational attachment to possessions, cluttered living spaces, difficulty getting rid of items, moving collected things from one pile to another without getting rid of them, collecting of invaluable items, organizing and categorizing difficulties, poor decision making skills, poor socialization skills and difficulty managing daily activities.