Most of us have sat through an episode of Hoarders on TV, watching a close-up camera snake through a house full of trash, dirt, items piled high, and other things. What may not be seen on television is that hoarding disorder is a serious psychological illness. It can lead to major depression, physical illness, and legal consequences. Those with this disorder often have difficulty parting with items (including damaged items and trash); causing poor or unsafe living conditions as items pile up, making cleaning difficult. Some people with hoarding behaviors may also have the urge to shop frequently; they may not be able to resist the urge to buy or find new items to add to their home, even when they are not needed.
Not everyone who likes to shop often or who has a cluttered home has a hoarding disorder. However, here are some warning signs to consider:
* Buying multiples of items because you have forgotten that you already have them
* Holding onto items that were intended as gifts
* Having areas in the home that must be cleared off before being able to be used (i.e., kitchen table)
* Having so many items that you find it difficult to sort through all of them
* Difficulty parting with or throwing away items
If this sounds like you or someone you know, you may want to seek help de-cluttering your home. If you or someone you know is having difficulty parting with items, please know that you are not alone and there is support out there that can help immensely! You can engage in therapy at any time at Greenridge Counseling Center (215) 487-1330.
Author: Joclyn Malys, M.S.
Zasio, Robin (2011). The Hoarder in You. Rodale, New York, NY.