Critical Warning Signs of Compulsive Hoarding

Cleaning up a hoarder’s house can be a tough project. If you want to intervene before things get that bad, watch out for these 7 signs of compulsive hoarding.

We’ve all seen compulsive hoarders shown on TV, their homes overflowing with random junk and knick-knacks with little value. However, real-life hoarding can be harder to spot and even more difficult to take care of. Helping a hoarder realize that they have a problem is best done before the hoarding gets out of control.

How can you recognize compulsive hoarding before it spirals out of control?

There are some signs that indicate you or your loved ones have turned to compulsive hoarding. Here are a few of the hoarding warning signs that you should watch out for.

What IS Compulsive Hoarding?

Compulsive hoarding is what happens when an individual finds it impossible to get rid of their belongings. It is considered a psychological disorder, as those with hoarding tendencies find it extremely hard to stop collecting items. It can affect both their lives and the lives of those around them.

Individuals with this disorder will continually collect items over their lifetime and hold onto them, storing them away regardless of the item’s actual value. This can make their homes nearly unlivable as the halls and rooms in the home overflow with more and more items.

While hoarders are commonly viewed as filthy people living with their houses full of junk, compulsive hoarding can range from mild to severe in nature. Mild cases may not view their hoarding as an actual problem, making it very difficult to treat.

Signs of Compulsive Hoarding

There are several signs that indicate someone is becoming a compulsive hoarder. Here are some of the signs that you should watch out for.

1. There’s Always Clutter

While everyone’s homes will gather some amount of clutter from time to time, people without compulsive hoarding disorders will go through and clean their homes regularly. Therefore, the clutter is temporary and will disappear over time.

In a hoarder’s home, however, this clutter will never be completely gone. You may notice that more clutter accumulates over time, simply stacking on top of the existing mess. Hoarders have a hard time getting rid of clutter, so you are unlikely to ever see the home truly clean.

2. They Show Emotional Distress Disposing of Items

If you are able to convince a hoarder to clean, they may show extreme distress while in the act of getting rid of items. They may use every excuse they can in order to keep certain items, and when forced into getting rid of something, they may have emotional outbursts.

Pay attention to how your loved ones react as you help them declutter their homes. If they have a hard time choosing between items to part with or show an odd attachment to junk or meaningless items in their home, then they may be showing hoarder warning signs.

3. Your Loved One Doesn’t Invite Others Over

Does your loved one use any excuse they can to meet up anywhere besides their home? If so, they may be hiding their compulsive hoarding disorder.

Having you over to their home means that they will have to explain the clutter and mess that their home has become. By inviting you out somewhere else, they can hide any signs that they have a problem.

Of course, this sign should not be taken on its own, as it doesn’t always indicate issues with hoarding. Make sure to examine other pieces of evidence before jumping to any conclusions.

4. They Have a Shopping Addiction

People with a compulsive hoarding disorder also tend to have shopping addictions. This allows them to add on to their “collection” as much as they want. This may also result in them being unable to pay their bills or purchase necessities.

Pay close attention to your loved one’s spending habits and finances. If you notice anything strange with these habits, you may need to talk with them.

5. You May Not Touch or Borrow Their Possessions

Hoarders have a hard time allowing other people to use, borrow, or even touch their possessions without becoming hostile. Their belongings are theirs alone and cannot be given away or disposed of. After all, you may throw it away or keep it from them after you borrow it.

6. They Have Multiple Pets

Having more pets than a person can reasonably care for is another form of hoarding. This is not only terrible for the owner, but for the pets as well. They won’t receive proper care, food, and treatment, so as soon as you see someone hoarding too many animals, you should call animal control or your local humane society for guidance.

7. You Are Always Talking About Their “Collection”

Hoarders love to talk about the items that they have acquired and will talk endlessly about their collection. You may find your conversations always being brought back to their belongings and the new items they want for their collection.

You may also find yourself constantly talking about the home’s clutter with your loved one. If you are always discussing the state of the home and the items your loved one is accumulating, that’s a good sign that they have a problem.

Care for Your Loved Ones

Treating compulsive hoarding is no easy feat, but your loved one will need all the help they can get while battling their addiction. Treat the situation with love and care, and make sure to get them the help they need through therapy if you are able to. Compulsive hoarding is an addiction, and your loved one won’t be able to battle it on their own.

Are you concerned about one of your loved ones? Do they display any signs of compulsive hoarding?

We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about compulsive hoarding.

Curious about other hoarding facts? You can continue reading our blog for more helpful information.


More Information

Here are more resources to help your loved ones.

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