Important Things you should know about an Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (Photo credit: Alaina Abplanalp Photography)

An obsessive compulsive hoarder is a person who has an anxiety disorder that makes them keep extra magazines, papers and generally clutter around.  When it is severe, the condition can seriously affect the life of the victim and those around them. This is because they eventually lose the ability to perform simple activities like cleaning, sleeping, showering and cooking because the clutter over runs their lives leaving no space to carry out daily activities. Compulsive hoarders leave no space vacant and fill out every corner of their houses with clutter. The truth is that there are very many people who unknowingly suffer from the condition. The TV show Hoarders reflects just how serious this condition can be if it is not controlled.

There are a few important facts that you should know about obsessive compulsive hoarders. The condition affects about 1.4 million people in the US alone. Most people who suffer from the condition do not think that they have a problem which makes it hard to help them. People are said to be suffering from the condition because they usually have duress to hoard. The disorder can affect anyone whether they are suffering from OCD or not.

In most cases you will find that an obsessive compulsive hoarder has inherited the condition from a family member. This means that they cannot associate the condition with a problem which needs to be treated because they see those around them in the same condition which to them is normal. Most victims start showing signs of hoarding when they are children or teens. There is however nothing to worry about at the time because it is not really serious. It usually becomes more severe when they become adults and people around them start to notice that they have a problem.

An obsessive compulsive hoarder can be hoarding simply because they do not want to throw away their prized possessions and they think it would be better if they saved or collected the items. Throwing away the items may cause the hoarder to feel anxious and they would rather have the items close to them to feel good. Research has also shown that most hoarders are perfectionists and they usually have the fear of making the wrong decisions on what to throw away and what to retain.

A hoarder may also suffer from other conditions like bipolar disorders, social anxiety impulse control problems and depression. There are professionals who can help them get over the problem but they have to be willing to be helped. This usually takes time because most people will not accept that they have a problem. Their family members or people who live close to them are usually the people who notice that they need help. Rather than asking the hoarder to take medications it is usually better to try out cognitive behavioral therapy.  This is more effective and the therapist moves into the obsessive compulsive hoarder home to help them see that they have a problem and help them reorganize their lives.



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  1. Thanks for this post. The more that can be done to raise awareness and understanding of this much misunderstood condition, the better.

    I help people all over the world declutter and create homes they love (I provide a free masterclass at so I’m delighted that Hoarding Disorder is likely to be a stand-alone mental health diagnosis from next year, separating it from OCD.

    I hope that this change will encourage more, and more appropriate/targeted, research into the condition and treatments/interventions for it.

  2. Neighbor across the road is compulsive hoarder, one cannot move in her house. Piles of stuff and she buys things daily and has no money to pay utility bills. She has not had propane for heat, hot water or her stove and oven since last March. She has only one older sister who is dealing with alzheimers. Is there an agency that can help this woman. I know she would become ballistic mean if anyone tried to get her to part with items. Just curious what could be done. I know eventually with her bad health some county agency will come to her home and eventually turn her in to adult protective services or health dept.

  3. My neighbor has 3 separate houses& a business office that has junked cars, barbecues, stoves out back and for a while people were getting paid to steal bikes that he would buy. He is very hard to relate to because he is so serious and gets mean over nothing and moved back to his “office” after I told him passerbys were rattling the gate-where all the junked cars are. He has made bizarre comments to me about my clothes and has been paranoid when one night his dogs were barking-I had been sick so took a shower at 3:30 am. It is like he is in his own fantasy world…also I believe he had been in this house before I moved in since it was vacant for over a year- with a broken back door frame.

    • worrisome yes..sounds to me w fantasy world,odd comments & behavior,paranoia-that in addition to hoarding? he sounds like could have a serious mental condition called Paranoid Schizophrenia-research that. Good Luck. Leave him be is my advice.

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