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Help With Hoarding Disorder

Curated and updated for the community by APA

People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

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There have been a number of TV shows and other media coverage about people with hoarding behaviors. Has this changed the way people in general view hoarding disorder or peoples’ willingness to get help?

TV shows have raised awareness of the devastating impact hoarding behaviors can have on the individual and their loved ones. It is important for those affected to understand that TV shows, by their nature, may not capture all the time, effort and hard work that is a necessary part of any mental health treatment program. Hoarding, which became a new diagnostic entry in the DSM in 2013, affects about 2-6 percent of individuals. People with hoarding disorder have difficulty parting with possessions, clutter that interferes with normal functioning and marked distress and impairment. More

Are there early signs that a person may have hoarding disorder? Is it primarily a problem among older adults?

Initial start of hoarding symptoms is thought to happen in childhood or adolescence (typical onset is around age 13) and it is chronic and progressive. Hoarding is more common in older than younger age groups.

Below are some early signs that an adolescent may have hoarding behaviors. These behaviors are typically mild, and progress over years. They may become a severe problem in adults in their 50s. However, not every person with hoarding symptoms has a hoarding disorder.

  • Difficulty letting go of things (throwing away, selling, recycling, giving away)
  • Clutter that makes it difficult to move easily throughout the home
  • Piles of items that keep tipping over (newspapers, magazines, mail)
  • Sleeping with items on the bed
  • Trouble organizing and categorizing
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Spending time moving things from pile to pile without letting go of items
  • Problems with attention
  • Excessive shopping or collecting free things
  • Not realizing the seriousness of the problem More

About the Experts:

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Carolyn Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Stanford Hoarding Disorders Research Program
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine

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Randy O. Frost, Ph.D.
Professor, Smith College
Member, Scientific & Clinical Advisory Board, The International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)

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DEC 13, 2018

Inside the Mind of a Hoarder

erienewsnow.com

Hoarders, in general, have a rough time discarding things for a variety of reasons including the feelings objects will be useful in the future, have sentimental value, or are unique. They typically live in unhealthy and dangerous conditions, usually with broken appliances and a lack of necessary utilities like heat. Up to 40% of hoarders also hoard animals. Animal hoarders are characterized as having intentions to care for their animals, but end up neglecting them due to their hoarding disorder. 

DEC 11, 2018

WAAY 31 I-Tem Investigation:  How Hoarding Hurts

WAAY

Hoarding is a mental disorder that hurts more than hoarders. It damages family relationships. Hoarding also puts people's lives in danger because first responders may not be able to reach them inside a hoarder's house. Hoarding even puts the lives of those first responders at risk.

NOV 14, 2018

How can you spot the symptoms of hoarding disosrder?

Lebanon Daily News

f you’re concerned about a friend or family member who you think may be showing signs of having hoarding disorder, here are some signs of hoarding as well as some ideas on getting help. Keep in mind that hoarding disorder is different from collecting. The Mayo Clinic says people who have collections will deliberately search out specific items, categorize them and carefully display them, and although the collections can be large they aren't usually don’t become cluttered and they won't cause the distress and impairments associated with hoarding disorder.

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Physician Reviewed

Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.
 July 2017