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

Making choices can be anxiety provoking, especially if our ideas about the decision are riddled with judgments.

Getting rid of self-...

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

In many cases, a mental disorder can be just as disabling as a physical one. That seems to be the case with Los Angeles Dodger Hong-Chih Kuo, who...

There are some situations where showing your anxiety may not be welcome. School, work, and meeting new acquaintances may all be uncomfortable...

Everyone who has anxiety should have a few breathing techniques in their coping first aid kit.

The regular practice of controlled breathing...

More Articles

Stress can strike anyone at any time, but anxiety occurs when stress is present for an extended amount of time, from several months to several...

Postpartum depression can strike any new mother, no matter what her situation may be. Having a baby is one of the happiest moments in one's life....

Just because a thought visits your mind does not mean it is true. Negative thoughts about yourself and speculation about what’s going to happen...

We may use them interchangeably, and they certainly go hand in hand, but stress and anxiety are not exactly one in the same. Yes, both can cause...

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, also known as (GAD), is a higher than normal level of anxiety that people experience day to day. It can fill ones...

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

People who spend much of their days in meetings have something to worry besides boredom, according to a study released by the Human Neuroimaging...

Mental health disorders, particularly anxiety disorders, are very common and often quite treatable. However, many of them remain poorly or...

It would be easier to be a man with anxiety if it weren't for that doggone thing called masculinity. Whether it is free-floating anxiety, a phobia...

According to researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health, teenagers experiencing excessive fatigue often also have anxiety disorders...

Like all benzodiazepines, Ativan (generic: lorazepam) can cause both physical and psychological dependence. Stopping it suddenly often results in...

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that develops following a horrible or terrifying event. Reliving the trauma with nightmares...

Dealing with the anxiety and depression of losing a loved one is difficult and can be hard to manage, but being able to move on from tragedy will...

Everyone who has anxiety should have a few breathing techniques in their coping first aid kit.

The regular practice of controlled breathing...

The good news for anyone suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is that there are a number of effective treatment options available....