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O.C. H O A R D I N G .D

Basic Info. Why & What do People Hoard. Treatments. Literature & Links. Support. Tips& Tricks.

   Hoarder vs. Clutterer.
   Possible Causes.

Frost & Hartl's ('96) definition of clinical hoarding:

(1) the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be of useless or of limited value; (2) living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed; and (3) significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding.

Hoarding is often a specific symptom of OCD which results in people keeping large amounts of items that to the outside world are considered excessive or worthless/useless. It is also still being researched much and surrounded with much secrecy and shame.
But read some of the figures below and you will soon realize that if you are here because you Hoard, you are certainly not alone in this.
Is important to realize however that Hoarding isn't solely linked or associated to OCD, and can be found independently but cause equal distress.

Many Elderly people deal with Hoarding and may have had a life- time of accumulating stuff that gradually got worse as they got older. Often this leaves the by then grown- up children to deal or face with the actions of their elderly parents.
Click here if you want to read more on how Hoarding may effect elderly.

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  • Hoarding & Saving Symptoms are found in 18% to 42% of OCD patients. But most people who Hoard will also exhibit OCD symptoms.
    Less than 1% of the population Hoards (Non clinical populations are also known to Hoard.).

  • There are other mental disorders in which Hoarding Behavior is seen, such as.: Anorexia Nervosa, Dementia and sometimes Psychotic Disorders.
    The differences between these types are not know yet.

  • 4 keywords that are found when talking about Hoarding are.: Indecisiveness, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Avoidance.

  • This is a symptom that is known to be difficult to treat, especially if there is little willingness to change.

  • The usual medications that can help with/for many other OCD- symptoms seem to be less effective for treating hoarding. Same goes for the ERP that is traditionally used to treat OCD when it comes to therapies. But an adapted form of ERP is being developed of which the results will still have to be looked in to more thoroughly.

  • The primary reasons for Hoarding are Biologically based rather than psychological. But studies ( By Dr. Randy Frost.) have shown that no real cause can be determined yet.

  • BT ( Behavior Therapy.) does prove to show some benefits. But like mentioned above, do Hoarders not benefit greatly from the traditional treatments for OCD.

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For those who hoard, it creates a vicious circle in which they almost literally become trapped. The mess will or can become so dominant that their self- esteem and social life will/may suffer from it. Simple things such as no longer feeling they can invite people over and with that, an important motivation for people to keep their house clean will disappear.
Of course, Hoarding like any other aspects of OCD, exists in different degrees.

But the severe cases of Hoarding may truly devastate a person's life if no help is sought.
They feel shame and this shame will gradually evolve into isolation.
Hiding 1's behavior seems to be the only possible solution. But how do you hide sometimes very omni- present and visible clutter/mess from the outside world.
You can't, so you have to resort to blocking out the outside world from your inside world.
Living amongst "junk" is not accepted in our society. Hoarding labels a person to be without any discipline, a person that is messy and it's not just that.
This is a real disorder, not someone that is just unwilling because they are lazy.

(Living in a messy surrounding will in most cases mean something isn't going right. This may be a depression, a lack of self- respect or no reason for caring anymore. So looking into the Why's of excessive mess may be helpful.).

NOTE: Someone that lives amongst junk isn't per se someone that has OCD. If you find living this way is not a free choice, leave it to the professionals to help you to find out why you are and what you could do to break free from this pattern.
You can get help for this, but look for help for the correct problem.

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Understanding Hoarding
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