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Kathy Marshack News

Signs and Symptoms of Hoarding

Monday, September 26, 2011


Have you heard of hoarding? There has been a lot of attention surrounding hoarding recently with even television shows revolving around this disorder. What exactly is hoarding? Hoarding is when a person excessively collects items and is then unable to give these items up. This is not your average collector. A hoarder will put their home and even their own safety at risk for the sake of their possessions. Their home becomes cramped, unsanitary, and seemingly uninhabitable.


According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the signs and symptoms of hoarding:

  • Unable to discard items
  • Keeping stacks of newspapers, magazines or junk mail
  • Cluttered living space
  • Moving items from one pile to another, without throwing anything away
  • Acquiring unneeded or seemingly useless items like trash or napkins 
  • Difficulty organizing items
  • Procrastination and trouble making decisions
  • Strong attachment to possessions, including discomfort letting others touch or borrow possessions
  • Limited or no social interactions
  • Shame or embarrassment


A hoarder feels a sense of comfort and safety by hoarding. What is the reason for hoarding? There isn’t one specific reason. For some, hoarding is a side effect of OCD. For others, it can be an emotional response to a tragic event or upbringing, loss of a loved one, or genetics. Regardless of the reason, hoarding is dangerous. It can destroy relationships and cause serious health complications. If you or someone you love is a hoarder, seeking professional help is a necessary step in overcoming the disorder. Therapy is very beneficial because it can help to uncover the real reason why someone is hoarding. With intense treatment and a lot of hard work, a hoarder can learn to keep their hoarding tendencies in check. If you would like to set up an appointment to discuss these issues, contact my office in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, WA to setup an appointment.


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