Compulsive hoarding is a disorder also known as disposophobia or pathological hoarding. Compulsive hoarding is the excessive acquisition of items and the difficulty or inability to discard them. These items are often worthless, unsanitary, considered clutter and anything and everything of little or no value. Compulsive hoarding may be hazardous for anybody who comes and goes in a hoarder’s house. It may hinder one’s ability to move freely, intervene in one’s everyday routine and activities of daily living such as cleaning, cooking, hygiene and sleeping. It may also cause accidents and may lead to serious injuries.
Some people consider compulsive hoarding an isolated disorder. Some believe it is a characteristic of another disorder known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. This issue is still being debated upon by medical experts. This disorder is most commonly seen in adults, at a prevalence rate of 2-5%. Compulsive hoarding, according to a recent study, is significantly higher in men than in women. Men have a prevalence percentage of 4.1%, and women having 2.1%.
There are a lot of characteristics observed among people diagnosed with compulsive hoarding. These people have a difficulty in discarding a large amount of belongings that have little or no significant value. Their living spaces eventually become cramped of useless possessions making moving around freely difficult. The activities for which the spaces have been made for are interfered by the clutter. One eventually becomes upset due to the impeding in the functioning of routine activities. Unwillingness to give back borrowed things can also be noted among hoarders.
This however, may worsen. An unpremeditated desire to possess things may lead to habitual stealing or kleptomania. Kleptomania is an irresistible impulse to steal in the absence of any economic motive. Compulsive hoarding may worsen and lead to damage of property, unhygienic living conditions, injuries and other risks to one’s health and safety.
Hoarders believe that the items they keep are of significant value or may know that it may be useless but continue in keeping them anyway. They develop a strong attachment to acquired items and claim that they are valuable while the people around them would consider worthless.
Studies say that compulsive hoarding may be passed down from one member of the family to the other. Up to 85% of people with this disorder can pinpoint family members who have the same difficulty. All those who show significant hoarding behaviors should undergo thorough analysis and evaluation so that an appropriate therapeutic treatment plan could be developed.
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