What is Hoarding and how Common is this Mental Health Condition?

hoardingHoarding is a mental health condition that is more common than many people suspect, and it is characterized as an obsessive compulsive disorder. Between 2% and 5% of Americans qualify as having this type of mental condition, and hoarding can be very difficult to treat because of the emotions and stress involved with the disorder. This condition has a negative impact on friends, family, and even the general community at large in many cases, and it can cause physical health issues and even safety concerns as well as mental health problems. A hoarder has very intense emotional attachments to specific objects, and these objects are usually trivial or even refuse that should be discarded but is not. In extreme cases the person may fill their living space with so much stuff that it is impossible to live a normal life in the environment.

Someone who is hoarding has a mental health issue which needs to be addressed, but few hoarders voluntarily seek help and treatment on their own. Even when faced with severe consequences like removal from the home or the loss of children or pets the person can not easily part with all of the material possessions that they have accumulated. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective at treating the condition but the recovery process can be a long and stressful one for everyone involved. Getting angry at the person who is hoarding or trying to shame the into changing will not work, and these solutions may only aggravate the mental health issues involved even further. Professional treatment and help is necessary to overcome hoarding.

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