Understanding Hoarding

Often people diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) will find themselves obsessed with keeping unwanted and often useless items. While this may not necessarily be normal to most people, it is a common problem with people with OCD. By definition this form of the disorder is called hoarding.

Hoarded items may be stored anywhere in the house. They tend to fill up one’s living quarters and make it quite uncomfortable and embarrassing to visitors. Although the hoarded items may at some point and time have had some value, they are kept for way too long and their value often diminishes.

Behavioral Tendencies of Hoarders
Often people wonder how hoarders behave. As stated, this is a disorder whereby the person sufferers from often irresistible impulses to collect useless items. Over time, they develop a deep obsession with these things. Thus, they are unable to give them up and instead keep them. Their overall behavior revolves around this compulsion to collect useless things.

Although all hoarding follows a specific behavioral type, the collected materials may differ from person to person. One person may hoard useless paper manufactured goods. These may include paper bags, plastic packing bags, bread bags, junk mail, newspapers, etc. Another person may hoard every new thing that they may see. For instance, they may see new trinkets on sale at the pawn shop or a new table and may feel the irresistible urge to purchase it.

The effects of Hoarding
Hoarding as obsession involves the often senseless retention of items that would be considered as junk by other people. They may develop some form of attachment to these items which makes them incapable of throwing them away. It reaches a point where the hoarder tends to dissociate themselves from close family and friends around them.

Moreover, hoarders can become especially violent if someone tries in any way to clear up their special items. Suggestions may make them agitated and cause them to regard those close to them with suspicion.

Hoarding can be quite an embarrassing obsession. The cramped living quarters formed by the mass accumulation of junk may make the lives of the hoarders and those around them uncomfortable as well as unhealthy, especially if the hoarder collects dirty or used items.

Some of those close to the hoarders may eventually distance themselves from the hoarder due to embarrassment. This may eventually lead to the hoarder forming a deeper emotional attachment with the items in their possession.

While hoarding may be one or the more serious forms of obsessive compulsive disorders, understanding it is the first step in helping the hoarder towards recovery.

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