What is compulsive hoarding?

The term is used in different clinical and non-clinical contexts to describe a broad spectrum of behavioural abnormities, including:

  • the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
  • living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed
  • significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding

Types of hoarders

  • Scarcity mentality hoarder: ‘What if the depression returns?’
  • Frugality mentality hoarder: ‘Nothing should be wasted’
  • Frozen indecision hoarder: ‘No decision is easy’
  • Ordinary hoarder: The hoarding of standard material things
  • Trash hoarder: Keeping garbage is called syllogomania
  • Animal hoarder: An animal hoarder is a person who has more animals than he or she can properly care for. A defining characteristic of animal hoarders is their refusal to acknowledge their inability to care for the number of animals they have accumulated. Hoarders have been found with an excess of 300 animals in a normal home.

 

How do I get help for myself or my loved one?

The first step in getting help is finding out whether you have a problem. A psychologist with specific training in the treatment of anxiety disorders can effectively perform a professional assessment, which will identify whether you have an addiction problem, and will recommend the treatment most appropriate for you.

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