What is Obsessive Compulsive Hoarding?

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  • Written By: F. Hay
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 29 September 2019
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Obsessive compulsive hoarding is a condition thought to be a subgroup of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The fear of getting rid of possessions, known as disposophobia, can affect and impair many areas of a person's life including the home, relationships, social well-being, mental health, and even physical condition. Compulsive hoarding is a psychological disorder although others believe that it is just a bad habit. Many obsessive hoarding sufferers are unable to acknowledge that they have a hoarding disorder until there is an intervention from a relative or friend.

Those who suffers with an obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder gather and store enormous amounts of items which might or might not be useful. Hoarding old newspapers, magazines, letters, used wrapping paper, or just plain garbage is a very common form of useless clutter hoarding. Hoarding can eventually take over the entire living space, thereby making it impossible to navigate from room to room. Obsessive hoarding also includes the acquiring of massive amounts of food or even dozens of animals. Pet hoarders keep so many animals in their home that they are unable to maintain the living area and the home becomes unhealthy for habitation.


There are several warning signs which might signal that a person has an obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder. Excessive shopping and constantly buying unnecessary items just because they are on sale can signal hoarding issues. Sufferers display an inability to organize their living areas; the vast amount of clutter becomes too overwhelming for them to manage and utter despair and depression sets in. The inability to throw away useless or broken items is a sign of a hoarding problem because sufferers form strong emotional bonds with their possessions. Often they become anxious and distraught when trying to discard items which include possessions which others may consider to be trash.

Persons with an obsessive compulsive hoarding disorder should talk to a doctor in order to obtain a referral to a therapist specialized in the treatment of this condition. The therapist should be able to help get to the root of what makes the sufferer compulsively hoard. An antidepressant such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) might also be prescribed to help alleviate some of the anxiety associated with a hoarding disorder. An intervention by family or friends should be handled delicately as this is a very emotional issue for the sufferer. If the hoarder's health is an issue, it might become necessary to involve a social service organization or health department to assist and assess the living conditions.



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