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What is hoarding?

The phenomenon of hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a complex condition that involves more than simply not being able to get rid of things. It has deep roots in psychological factors and can significantly impact the daily lives of affected individuals and their environment. This article delves into what exactly hoarding is, explores its progression and characteristics, and explains how treatment can contribute to improvement.

What exactly is hoarding disorder?

Hoarding disorder, often referred to as hoarding, is a psychiatric condition in which people feel an irresistible urge to collect and keep items, regardless of their actual value or functionality. This often leads to a house full of stuff, limiting livable space. These people are also called collectors.

Course of a hoarding disorder

The disorder usually develops gradually, starting in the teenage years and increasing with age. The ability to live functionally within one's own living environment can be severely limited by the items collected. It is therefore important that the treatment of hoarding disorder, also called hoarding disorder, is tailored to the person's problem. In this way, people with hoarding disorder can be helped properly.

The core features of hoarding disorder include:

1. Difficulty getting rid of or throwing away items, regardless of their value.

2. An excessive amount of stuff in the house.

3. Significant distress or problems in functioning caused by the collection.

Do people with hoarding disorder understand that they have a problem?

Awareness of the problem varies. Some people are acutely aware of their hoarding behavior and its negative impact, while others have less insight into their condition. A practitioner can help people with hoarding so that their obsessive-compulsive disorder does not get out of hand. This not only concerns getting rid of things or getting rid of other things, but it mainly concerns mental help.

What is animal hoarding disorder?

A specific form of hoarding is animal hoarding disorder, in which a person compulsively collects animals and is unable to provide adequate care, often resulting in unsanitary conditions and health problems for both the animals and the hoarder.

Psychological complaints and hoarding disorder

Hoarding is often accompanied by other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD), which increase the complexity of treatment.

Causes of hoarding disorder

The exact cause of hoarding is not fully understood, but research suggests a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.

1. Physical factors

Genetic predisposition and brain abnormalities may play a role.

2. Psychological factors 

Emotional trauma or anxiety disorders can increase hoarding behavior.

3. Environment

Traumatic events or loss can trigger hoarding.

Treatment for hoarding

Effective treatments are available and often include a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Helps individuals recognize and change their thoughts and behaviors regarding collecting.


Antidepressants can sometimes help, especially if hoarding disorder is accompanied by another mental health condition such as depression or OCD.

With the right help, everything will be fine

The path to recovery from hoarding is often long and challenging, but with the right support and treatment, improvement is possible. Recognizing the problem and seeking help is a crucial first step. By increasing awareness and understanding of this disorder, we can offer hope to those who suffer from hoarding and their loved ones.

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Help Center

What exactly is hoarding disorder?

Hoarding disorder, also known as hoarding, is a mental condition in which a person feels an extreme urge to collect and keep items, often of little or no real value, resulting in overcrowded living environments.

How do I know if I or someone else has hoarding disorder?

If you or someone you know has great difficulty getting rid of items, which clutters the house and reduces daily quality of life, it may indicate hoarding disorder. It is often accompanied by stress or problems in functioning.

Can hoarding be genetic?

Yes, research suggests that hoarding may have a genetic component. If hoarding runs in your family, there may be an increased chance that you too have this tendency.

Are there effective treatments for a hoarder?

Yes, there are effective treatments available, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps people change their thoughts and behavior around hoarding, and sometimes medication, especially if the hoarding is accompanied by other mental health conditions.

How do I start a conversation with someone I suspect of hoarding?

Start the conversation from a place of compassion and care. Emphasize your concern for their well-being and offer your support in seeking help together, without judgment or blame.

Will cleaning out the house solve collectors' collecting craze?

While decluttering the house can help, it is important to also address the underlying psychological aspects of the disorder. A combined approach of cleaning up and therapy offers the best chance of improvement.

Can children also develop hoarding disorder?

Yes, children can also show signs of hoarding, although the diagnosis is usually not made until a person is in adolescence or adulthood. Early intervention can help prevent the development of serious hoarding disorder.

What are the psychological complaints that often accompany hoarding?

People with hoarding disorder may also suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Treating these comorbid conditions is crucial for effective treatment.

Is hoarding the same as a strong urge to collect?

While both involve collecting items, hoarding goes beyond simply having a hobby or passion for collecting. It becomes problematic when it affects living conditions and leads to psychological or physical suffering.

How can I help someone with hoarding disorder?

Provide support by listening and showing empathy. Encourage them to seek professional help and offer to guide them on their road to recovery. It is also helpful to educate yourself about the disorder to better understand what your loved one is going through.