For a long time, people thought hoarding was a cause of bad habits or associated with messy, lazy and undisciplined people. Hoarding is characterised by long-standing difficulty in the discarding of possessions. This means that a person keeps acquiring new things, but can’t seem to throw away, recycle, resell or give away the things he/she no longer need or want. It’s estimated that hoarding affects at least 5% of the world population, but most victims don’t recognise they have hoarding disorder. So what are the signs of hoarding disorder?
1. Compulsive Buying and Acquiring
Do you find yourself bringing home too much stuff either through shopping online or in person, or perhaps collecting free stuff? Being aware of your behaviour and that you often come home with more than the things you intended or needed should be a warning sign. This may include purchasing things that will sit unused or unopened.
2. Chronic Disorganization
Chronic disorganisation is the accumulation of possessions that ultimately congest your living space and compromise the area’s intended use. You are chronically disorganised when you can’t seem to find your keys, phone or wallet. You can’t use the bathroom or kitchen because you have too many things in the way. Not only does it affect these areas of your home, but goes further to get in the way of your other daily activities including sleeping.
3. Being Distressed About Your Items and Belonging
After acquiring your collection, do they end up being a burden rather than a pleasure? Do have more collection and you don’t seem to have a place to display all of them? This means you have gone past acquiring reasonable, healthy collections to becoming a hoarder. Hoarding is better explained by obsessive-compulsive disorder.
4. Clutter Blindness
Clutter blindness blocks a person from seeing and recognising how their home looks. They consider everything is normal, even if they have books, clothes and shoes piled all over the house. They don’t seem to realise how their home looks to other people. When concerned people around you start complaining, it’s a good warning sign.
5. Unwillingness to Socialise and Allow People Into Your Home
These often are the last signs of a hoarding disorder. When clutter has become too much, you become embarrassed to let anyone into your home. It causes significant distress and can impair your social and occupational function. You end up feeling tremendously isolated.
If you believe you might be showing these signs or your friend is experiencing them, try to get help. Hoarding is a mental disorder that can be treated using various treatment options.