According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), hoarding pertains to the insistent reluctance in disposing or getting rid of belongings regardless of their definite value. This can lead to the development of harmful effects on a hoarder’s behavior, including their physical, emotional, financial, social, or even legal wellbeing. Hoarders are usually distinct from other people with respect to the quantity of their collected items, which usually vary from newspapers and magazines, photographs, bags, and household supplies to clothing and food. This behavior can be associated with compulsive purchasing, compulsive attainment of free items, or the compulsive quest for explicit or exceptional items.
The future benefits of these items are the leading reasons why people hoard. They believe that an item will have value in the coming times. Other reasons may include an item having a sentimental value, because it is exceptional and priceless, or because ownership can’t be decided so it’s better to preserve it. Hoarding may become a disorder that may turn up on its own or as a symptom of another disorder. It can be commonly linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression. To a lesser degree, hoarding can also be associated with eating disorder, Prader-Willi syndrome, psychosis, pica, or dementia.
Hoarding as a Disorder
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the excessive saving of items that others may view as having no value is regarded as hoarding disorder. This may result in a mess that interrupts people’s capability to utilize their living or work areas. Hoarding and collecting are not similar, since collectors search for distinct items while hoarding disorder entails saving and storing random items.
Approximately two to six percent of the population is affected by hoarding disorder, and it usually results in considerable misery and problems in performance. It occurs more among males than females and more among older adults aged 55 to 94 than among adults aged 34 to 44.
The following are signs of hoarding disorder:
Hoarding Disorder Sign #1: Trouble Getting Rid of Items
Important occasions in the past are called to mind through the articles, and a sense of comfort and security are ensured. Canale and Klontz explained that when hoarders try to get rid of such items, the feeling of losing a piece of oneself or as if a friend is dying comes to surface. This denotes that hoarders bind their identity to their possessions, which eventually becomes a point of concern since hoarders may ascribe human characteristics towards the things they own.
Hoarding Disorder Sign # 2: Developing a Large Amount of Clutter
Secondary to the considerable volume of hoarders’ belongings, these can slowly creep up in areas such as the office, at home, in the car, or in other spaces, making for a hoarder house where it becomes difficult to move around or to use the furniture or appliances. The British Psychological Society explains that what may have set off as a reasonable collection can consume the space and turn out to be chaotic and disorganized. Results of this may include having more trouble determining what is owned and finding the location of valued items.
Hoarding Disorder Sign # 3: Having a Hard Time Categorizing or Organizing Owned Items
In the study completed by Grisham and Norberg, evidence revealed that hoarders exhibit relevant difficulty in decision making. Their belief encompasses the importance of having an excessive number of possessions and tend to be indecisive on which items need to be discarded or kept, which are valuable, and on ways to organize the items they keep in possession. Hoarders also take more time sorting their owned items and experience higher levels of stress. Here are some ways to declutter and create more space within your home.
Hoarding Disorder Sign #4: Feeling Overwhelmed by the Bulk of Possessions
A feature of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter talked about hoarding and mentioned that hoarders usually feel overwhelmed by the amount of possessions they actually have and become incapable of making decisions on how to arrange or discard them. As such, hoarders have awareness deficiency on the gravity of their behavior. Instead, a lot of them become infuriated and defensive upon criticism of their obsessive collecting behavior.
Hoarding Disorder Sign #5: Building Safety Nets
Hoarders may have the plan of constructing safety nets for themselves, which encompass the principle of acquiring a financial safety net if they keep items that may entail future benefits. Paul Greene explained the idea that the treasure of tomorrow comes from the trash of today. Another perspective involves having an experience of suffering from a devastating loss in the past. This may lead them to hide by clinging to physical items within their hoarder house.
Hoarding Disorder Sign #6: Not trashing it out
Greene also provided details on how hoarders can’t seem to stand trash. This comes from the idea that they can’t tolerate the vision of items sitting in landfills or the thought of anything being put to waste. They stand by the perception that kept items will be put into good use in the future; thus, avoiding any wastage. Creativity and imagination will allow them to identify several ways of recycling an item and eventually discarding the need to throw it away.
Hoarding Disorder Sign #7: Isolating oneself
In relation to clutter development, hoarders may find it difficult to move within their space; hence, self-care activities may become impossible to implement. As such, according to The British Psychological Society, this can aggravate social isolation, particularly when the hoarder progressively avoids interaction with other people. ConsciousEd talks about anxiety and how the thoughts repeat in a constant loop, so they decide to withdraw, rather than socialise and risk being reprimanded or possibly ignored.
Instead, increasing acquisition deeds may be initiated such as the purchase of new clothes or food since cooking or access to the kitchen seems impossible. Service disconnections may also be inevitable since a disorganized home may lead to bill payments being neglected.
Hoarding Disorder Sign #8: Refusing to Let People into the Hoarder House
Hoarders may exhibit resistance in letting other people into their homes, for it has turned into a hoarder house. According to Weingarden and Renshaw, they may manifest symptom-based shame in relation to saving behaviors. There is also the fear of legal problems or eviction—another reason why hoarders hide their homes from other people.
Hoarding Disorder Sign #9: Hoarded Items Having No Value
Being a hoarder does not only encompass owning a lot of things but also a fair exchange of useless items. This is what Wyatt Myers emphasized, stating that hoarded items may vary from magazines and newspapers to clothes not worn in years, and even junk mail.
Say No to a Hoarder House
It is normal to have a messy home from time to time, but having a home that’s so cluttered it alters daily living and health may signify a developing hoarding disorder. As such, before it gets too late, get rid of the piles and avoid chaos. Move your items into a better space, such as renting spaces on Spacer. Rent one in your own neighbourhood, so that even though they’re not cluttering your home, you can still reach them with ease.