Compulsive Hoarding

Compulsive hoarding is a disorder seen in a lot of people, especially ones with OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Compulsive hoarding may also be known as pathological hoarding or disposophobia. Compulsive hoarding is defined as the excessive accumulation of items that have little or no value and having the difficulty in getting rid of them. These items are considered by most people as worthless junk. This eventually would induce a buildup of useless items resulting in cramped living spaces.

Because of this, normal function of routine activities would be hindered. The living spaces cannot be used anymore for their planned purposes. The clutter can lead to accidents and injuries and other threats to the health and safety of those living with a hoarder. It is estimated that up to 1.2 million people are diagnosed with compulsive hoarding in the United States.

Hoarders may be classified into three types. Hoarders of the first kind may show off a diamond set while claiming it to be made of diamonds and rubies despite the fact that the packaging clearly states that it is only made of plastic. Hoarders of the second kind may have a pantry filled with unconsumed food well past their expiration dates and still refuse to have then discarded. Soon the place would have infestations. Hoarders of the third kind collect things as a hobby. These collections would oftentimes include old clothes, rusty and broken tools and others.

Compulsive hoarding may be associated with a lot of factors. Some of these factors would include heredity, abnormalities in brain development, family experiences and stress. Up to 85% of compulsive hoarders have family members who are likewise associated with the same disorder. Abnormalities in brain development could also lead to compulsive hoarding. Studies reveal that compulsive hoarding may begin after surgeries or injuries to the brain.

According to a particular research, compulsive hoarders who take part in the study have an average age of 50.  Teenage years are the identified age of the onset of the disorder. However, during these years the disorder can be quite difficult to distinguish as the person involved could see nothing wrong with what he or she is doing. Although the onset of the disorder is at an earlier age, the occurrence could happen at a later time in life after an illness related to the brain, a painful experience in life or after bouts of depression.

A person experiencing symptoms of this disorder should seek professional help as soon as possible. Early detection could correct it. If left untreated, this disorder could worsen and become potentially dangerous.

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