Hoarding Defined: What Is It Really?

Hoarding is the behavior of acquiring an excessive number of items that have little or no value. While many people consider themselves to be "pack rats," collecting more possessions than they perhaps need, compulsive or pathological hoarding is an extreme behavior that tends to impact a person's ability to live a normal life.

There are many reasons why someone may begin hoarding. They may believe that the items they're saving will have a use in the future, have attached sentimental or emotional value to the items, mistakenly believe items have great value, or simply be unable to decide what to do with it.

Whatever the reason, people who hoard are unable to discard large numbers of possessions which most people would consider to have very little value. Hoarding often results in a situation that is unpleasant for both the hoarder and his or her family members: loss of living space due to clutter, social isolation and embarrassment over excessive possessions, debt or financial hardship, and potentially hazardous living conditions.

People can, and do, hoard many types of things. Some commonly hoarded items are newspapers and magazines, books, plastic bags and cardboard boxes, household supplies, articles of clothing, and animals. Animal hoarding is a particularly sad but interesting example of hoarding, because animal hoarders almost always are very attached to their pets and believe that they are providing them with proper care; it is a clear example of how hoarding is a real mental disorder that can be clearly distinguished from a healthy person's tendency to be a "pack rat."

Photo: Pixabay

Anxiety Support Groups

More Articles

Anorexia nervosa is a disease that tends to affect younger women, and cases have been on the rise for years. Now, analysis of a 3,000 person data...

If you have any of the physical symptoms of anxiety listed below, please don't suffer any longer -- seek help immediately. Your first step is to...

Specific phobias are the most common type of anxiety disorder that is defined as an irrational fear of or aversion to a situation or specific...

Anxiety disorders are complex, influenced by a number of chemical, behavioral, and situational factors. There are several neurotransmitters in the...

Fresh out of college and searching for her first real job, Lauren had interviews lined up and was ready to prove herself in the big leagues. Yet,...

More Articles

Tofranil is a brand name of the antidepressant medication imipramine. It is used primarily to treat major depression in adults and bed-wetting in...

Joggers, firefighters and endurance athletes are warned to always make sure they're getting enough water, but the truth is that most people are...

This article was written exclusively for LivingWithAnxiety.com by Camille Rynd. She explains why she resorted to self-medicating and how much...

If you struggle with exam anxiety, you’re not alone. Test-taking can be one of the anxiety causes while in school, but it can be overcome.

...

Elavil (known generically as amitriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant that was approved by the FDA back in 1961 for treatment of major...

Aromatherapy for anxiety may be a useful natural remedy in helping ease symptoms. Aroma means a pleasant or agreeable odor arising from plants,...

Everyone who lives with bothersome anxiety symptoms should have a pouch or pocket in their bag or backpack that is an emergency calm-kit.

...

Everyone is so busy these days with the demands of work, parenting, and life's everyday tasks. But you can get through the day with less stress,...

New research by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the University of North Carolina's Bowles Center...

Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for healthy growth and development. There is significant...

The phrase “natural remedy” means different things to different people, but people searching for natural remedies for anxiety attacks are usually...

For sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), prolonged exposure (PE) therapy is a proven, effective treatment. Sometimes referred to as...

Norpramin is a tricyclic antidepressant that is approved by the FDA to treat depression and also prescribed off-label for the treatment of some...

A study from Deakin University that looked at 3,000 Australian adolescents has revealed that mental health in adolescents over time could be...

Relationship anxiety is excessive worry about either forming or keeping a relationship. And it is considered one aspect of social anxiety disorder...