About Hoarding

What is Hoarding Disorder?

As much as 2-4% of the population suffers from hoarding disorder.  Individuals with hoarding disorder have difficulty letting go of possessions regardless of their actual value.  They believe they need to save items, and they experience distress if they need to get rid of them.  The difficulty with letting items go results in clutter. In turn, this can make it difficult to use living space.  For example, clutter in a kitchen can make it hard to cook or eat. Most people with hoarding (but not all) also have trouble with acquiring too much stuff, such as shopping.

Hoarding ranges from mild to severe.  In some cases, it may not impact one’s life and in other cases, it may cause serious problems on a daily basis.

Signs and symptoms of hoarding may include the following:

  • Trouble getting rid of things regardless of value
  • Feeling upset when needing to get rid of items
  • Acquiring many items even if there is no space or they are not needed
  • Inability to use rooms because of too many items

People with hoarding disorder have certain types of beliefs about their stuff more so than other people:

  • Think that their items will be needed later
  • Believe their stuff is unique or beautiful
  • Place great emotional importance on their items
  • Feel safer when they are around their items
  • Don’t want to waste anything and don’t want to contribute to polluting or hurting the environment
  • See their stuff as defining who they are, their identity.