Hoarding of Food


People who demonstrate hoarding behaviors may hoard a wide variety of things: papers, clothes, garbage, or even animals. Hoarding can sometimes be a symptoms of a mental illness like obsessive-compulsive disorder, but a number of experts believe that it exists, or can exist, as a disorder in and of itself.

Some people with hoarding tendencies collect many different types of objects, while others seem to specialize in a specific type of item. One specific type of hoarding is food hoarding, and it seems to often have its root in a prior life trauma. One group of people particularly prone to food hoarding is children who have been in foster care or another uncertain and impermanent living situation.

These children often hoard food as a response to a time or times in their life when they didn't have enough to eat, and could never be sure when their next meal would occur. The inconsistent availability of food can lead to behaviors like overeating and secretly hoarding food when it does become available. While this may make sense in a food-insecure situation, many children continue this behavior even when they are in a safe environment with plenty to eat. At that point, when a child may be hiding rotten food under his bed or in his backpack, hoarding food has become an unhealthy behavior that needs to be addressed. With time and treatment, including patience, trust, and a nurturing and consistent environment, food hoarding behavior in children can often be significantly improved.

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