Identifying Hoarding Disorder Symptoms and Getting Help

Hoarding disorder is a type of mental disorder that is characterized by uncontrollable and debilitating behaviors such as collecting objects and storing them whether or not they hold any value at all. This can result in collections of items that eventually deem living conditions unsafe as the collected items can begin to accumulate into mass volumes (known as a hoard). Not only does hoarding disorder affect living conditions, but it can also affect the individual displaying hoarding behavior with emotional symptoms. Identifying hoarding disorder symptoms can help people living with this mental illness realize they need professional help. And, utilize the therapeutic assistance that’s necessary to start making changes and heal the underlying root causes of hoarding behaviors.

Recognizing Hoarding Disorder Symptoms in Your or a Loved One’s Life

Obviously, the obsessive collecting of items is one of the most common hoarding disorder symptoms. This collecting of items doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that can start to happen in childhood. And, eventually start to affect living conditions as the build-up of items can eventually lead to a home that’s filled with clutter. Therefore, making it difficult to move about the home.

Hoarders will continue to collect items even if these items are of no use or hold no significant value. Furthermore, people who struggle with hoarding behaviors may not want others to know about their hoarding. So, they may avoid having people enter their homes and go to great lengths to keep people from coming to their homes.

Along with hoarding behaviors, other signs and symptoms of hoarding disorder can include:

  • collecting of items even though there is no place to store these items
  • having trouble with throwing things away
  • disorganization
  • feeling irritated when others suggest they organize or throw items away
  • avoidance of others (especially when it comes to having people come to their home)
  • procrastination of having to organize or throw anything away

The Problem With Hoarding Behaviors

People struggling with hoarding disorder may not be willing to accept that there are definitive issues when it comes to their hoarding behaviors. But, there are negative outcomes to hoarding that people living with this disorder have to come to accept in order to heal and change behaviors.

Some of the dangers of hoarding behaviors may include:

Relationship Issues: The avoidance behaviors of people with hoarding disorder can lead to a pushing away of loved ones. Furthermore, if people living with this disorder also live with others, this can lead to strife in personal relationships as other individuals may not want to deal with living in a hoarding situation.

Hygiene Issues: The collection of mass amounts of items can be a safety issue when it comes to hygiene. Often, hoarding behaviors get to a point where you can’t access areas of a home as the result of a mass hoard. Therefore, bathrooms may become inaccessible and the hygiene of the individuals who live in a hoarded home is not taken care of properly.

Safety Issues: Mass hoards can result in rodent infestations which lead to health issues as rodent feces carries unsafe bacteria and can lead to disease in humans. Furthermore, when the collection of items gets to a point where the home is inaccessible, this can present safety concerns. This is because if something happened like a fall or other health emergency, emergency individuals like paramedics would be unable to reach an individual in need.

Help for People Living with Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding disorder is classified as a mental illness that’s characterized by obsessive thoughts and behaviors. Individuals struggling with this type of disorder can get help through counseling and therapeutic services that intend to help them process the trauma or other issues that have led to hoarding behaviors. Once the underlying causes of these thoughts and behaviors are identified, individuals diagnosed with hoarding behaviors can learn to control these thoughts and behaviors with coping skills. And, implement these skills in daily life.

Delray Center for Healing is an outpatient mental health treatment center that offers therapeutic services for people struggling with obsessive thoughts and behaviors, like the ones that lead to the development of hoarding disorder. Find out how we can help by visiting our website.