The Impact of Hoarding on Your Mental Health

August 29, 2017

Article originally sourced from BeliefNet
"The hoarder’s brain

A hoarder’s brain sparks into action when he or she thinks about throwing something away. Apparently the parts of the brain that are stimulated are the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, areas associated with pain and conflict!

This means hoarders experience actual measurable psychological pain if someone (including themselves) messes with their stuff.

You can’t concentrate when you’re surrounded by disorganized stuff

My uncle is a hoarder. Even though he lives in an extended semi-care facility, he managed to pick up so much stuff that was left lying around by other patients, it took two days to clean out his bachelor suite. And a hoarder takes what a hoarder wants. That means newspapers, chairs, plates, books – you name it.



After cleaning my uncle’s suite, I went home. And I breathed a sigh of relief at what I perceive to be my clean house. Not only did the clean environment make me breath easier, it also made me feel happier.


That’s because most people find it difficult to concentrate when they’re surrounded by disorganized piles of clutter. The clutter is an overload on your senses. This causes stress.


That stress can prevent your brain from any type of creative thinking.

The stress of hoarding

Stress hormones spike during moments when people are dealing with their stuff. Apparently, your brain treats the situation as if you’re attempting to multitask. Your stress hormones are released. And instead of being able to concentrate on your surrounding, your body is overwhelmed by all the information its receiving. And that makes your mind say, “I give up.”


Never mind the impact hoarding has on your physical health. If you’re surrounded by piles of newspapers, empty cigarette boxes, and old styrofoam cups and plates, the bacteria that’s in the air is also in your lungs. Pretty soon you’re feeling sluggish, and then you start breaking out in skin rashes and next you’re visiting the doctor for some antibiotics. I can tell you I felt sick even after using a face mask and gloves to clean my uncle’s suite.

Admitting to being a hoarder is tough

One of the toughest things to do for a hoarder is admit to hoarding. There will be excuses like, “But I need this” or “it’s still useful” even though that magazine from 2010 doesn’t contain anything that you don’t already know."




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