Hoarding is usually caused by a traumatic event early on in a person’s life. This event, often leaves the person feeling without something and therefore, begin hoarding these items to fill the void. Per the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation hoarding is defined by the following three things:
- A person collects and keeps a lot of items, even things that appear useless or of little value to most people, and 2. These items clutter the living spaces and keep the person from using their rooms as they were intended, and 3. These items cause distress or problems in day-to-day activities.
Hoarding is considered a problem because it affects the day to day life and standard of living for both the hoarder and their family in those three ways. As stated in the first aspect, people who hoard do not see the items they hoard as invaluable or a waste of space, it is the opposite. Hoarders believe each of the items they hoard is vital. Each item holds some sort of sentimental value and it makes it very difficult to get rid of them. Many times, a hoarder understands there is a problem but when trying to get rid of items, experiences extreme anxiety. Because it affects their mental state in such a way, hoarding is a problem.
Secondly, the items one is hoarding often affects the living space in their home. The clutter from hoarding can become so much that passageways become blocked, seating is covered, tables are no longer able to be used and so on. These are very clear signs that hoarding is a problem. Many rooms in a hoarder’s home become filled with items and can no longer be used as intended. These living spaces now become storage spaces and it is hard for one to live in the home.
Lastly, hoarding is considered a problem because it interferes with the normal day-to-day operations of a person’s life. From just walking around to sitting, cooking and eating, all aspects of life are affected. Hoarding affects not only the hoarder but their family. This means that children, mothers, or the lives of other in the home are affected by the hoarding. Severe hoarding affects the quality of life of everyone closely involved.
Hoarding is a mental disorder and is considered a problem because it affects one’s quality of life. If you believe you are a hoarder or know someone who is it is important to seek help as soon as possible. There are many resources that are specifically made to help a hoarder.