Compulsive hoarding is a disorder that affects anywhere from 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the United States. There may be a genetic component to hoarding disorder and it also frequently occurs with other mental illnesses. For hoarders, there is a sense of distress and anxiety that occurs if they think about getting rid of something or throwing it away. If they feel forced into doing it, their distress can be severe.
Explore the following collection of relevant and commonly asked questions about hoarding to learn more about this disorder.
With hoarding disorder, the excessive acquisition of objects is compulsive. A person feels like they have to buy or save specific items despite consequences like a cluttered living space or illness from saving unsanitary items. The person may experience overwhelming, psychological distress at the prospect of discarding any hoarded objects.
However, someone who has hoarding disorder may also struggle with mood disorders. The DSM states that more than 50 percent of people who have hoarding disorder also have major depressive disorder. When both conditions are present, they are called co-occurring disorders. Professional treatment may be necessary to heal from co-occurring mood and hoarding disorders.
A medical professional or mental health practitioner can determine whether someone struggles with OCD, hoarding disorder or both. However, having both of these conditions is relatively rare; only about 20 percent of people who have hoarding disorder also have OCD, according to the DSM.