As appeared on adaa
Hoarding is the compulsive purchasing, acquiring, searching, and saving of items that have little or no value. The behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal—for a hoarder and family members.
The descriptions below are typical of someone who hoards:
Avoids throwing away possessions (common hoarded items are newspapers, magazines, paper and plastic bags, cardboard boxes, photographs, household supplies, food, and clothing)
Experiences severe anxiety about discarding possessions
Has trouble making decisions about organizing possessions
Feels overwhelmed or embarrassed by possessions
Is suspicious of other people touching possessions
Has obsessive thoughts about possessions:
Fear of running out of an item and needing it later
Checks the garbage to see if an item was accidentally discarded
May have functional impairments:
Loss of living space inside the home (no place to eat, sleep, or cook)
Family or marital problems
People hoard for many reasons, among them the belief that their possessions will be useful or valuable in the future, have sentimental value, are unique and irreplaceable, or because they can’t decide where something goes, it’s better just to keep it.
Hoarding vs. Collecting
Hoarding is not the same as collecting. In general, collectors have a sense of pride about their possessions, and they experience joy in displaying and talking about their possessions and conversing. They keep their collection organized, feel satisfaction adding to it, and budget their time and money.
Hoarders generally experience embarrassment about their possessions and feel uncomfortable when others see them. Their clutter often takes over functional living space, and they feel sad or ashamed after acquiring additional items. Also, they often incur great debt, sometimes extreme.
Effective treatment is available from qualified mental health professionals, who can also help the affected family members.