Hoarding Syndrome, and the symptoms of hoarding disorder, affects some 1 in 50 people in the US alone. It is categorized as an anxiety disorder and in many cases requires treatment from a psychiatrist. It can also be mild and cause very little interference with their life.
If you’re concerned that a loved one may have a hoarding disorder, consider the following common symptoms of hoarding syndrome.
A Persistent Need to Keep Unnecessary Items
Individuals suffering from this condition often have an overwhelming need to keep unnecessary items. Magazines, newspapers, and even trash can be difficult for people to toss in the garage, leading to seriously unsanitary conditions that can cause health issues.
People who have hoarding disorder often completely deny there is a problem. Hoarding is characterized by a stubborn refusal to agree to let go of items. Even friends and family who are adamant about cleaning the home can be met with a hostile response. Denial of any issue is one of the key signs there is a problem.
Difficulty Giving Away or Throwing Away Items
People who are hoarders typically have extreme difficulty giving away or throwing away their belongings. They experience severe anxiety over parting with anything they own. They may also lose important items among the clutter leading to even more frustration and anxiety. Most often, they feel that each item holds some significant emotional importance, and therefore feel uncomfortable getting rid of it.
Perfectionism, Avoidance, Indecisiveness
In addition to the anxiety over getting rid of belongings, people with hoarding syndrome also experience other emotional issues. Perfectionism, which is characterized by anger, depression and anxiety over not being perfect, avoidance or avoiding any situation or issue that causes anxiety, and indecisiveness are tell-tale signs that the individual is suffering. When coupled with an inability to give up old belongings, this is a definitive symptom of hoarding disorder.
Hoarding is a serious psychological illness that requires professional help to overcome. With proper treatment, however, former hoarders can live a long and happy life. If you know of someone in your family who needs assistance with Hoarding Disorder, contact me for a consultation.