Hoarding or Collecting?
Do you know someone who has developed a pattern of having a bit too much of something? A hoarding disorder is an excessive accumulation of certain items along with a persistent difficulty in parting with the items. The person experiences a mix of distress at the thought of having too much and wanting, but not being able to get rid of the items.
How is hoarding different from someone who collects as a hobby?
A collector enjoys collecting. They collect similar objects that vary according to their interests i.e., Barbie dolls, race cars, special plates, etc. The collections represent a relationship to a specific interest or hobby.
Hoarders’ emotions often revolve around feelings of guilt, shame, and avoidance. They find it difficult to decide if their possessions should be kept or discarded. The accumulated items hold some anxiety ridden sentimental value to the hoarder. When they think of discarding items it feels as though they are losing a part of themselves, a piece of safety. Their clutter creates chaos in their emotional and physical space.
Are you wondering if you're a hoarder?
- Do you buy items or acquire things that you do not need or have enough space for?
- Do you have trouble discarding things that most other people would get rid of easily?
- Does clutter make it difficult to use rooms in your house or surfaces such as counter tops and tables?
- Does your saving/collecting of items affect your daily functioning?
- Does your saving/collecting of items interfere with school, work, or your social or family life?
- How much distress does saving/collecting cause you?
Hoarding is treatable and is usually done through cognitive behavioral therapy where there's an attempt to change the way a person thinks about certain issues. There are reasons people do what they do and hoarding is no different. Maybe it's about control or procrastination. It could be that it’s how the person deals with an underlying depression in the same way someone might use food or drugs to distract them from their problems.
For more information on hoarding click here.