What are some reasons for hoarding?


Quick Answer

Compulsive hoarding behavior can be linked to a number of underlying conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety and depression. Typical reasons given by the hoarder themselves might include the desire to avoid a sense of loss, the desire to make themselves happy or the expectation to one day need something that they do not currently need.

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Full Answer

Items may hold a sentimental value for hoarders, or they may feel that an item was too much of a bargain when purchased to be discarded, no matter how useless it might be.

Sometimes hoarders will think of individual items as potential memory joggers, telling themselves that once they lose the item, they will also lose the memory of some important person or event.

Some other specific psychiatric conditions associated with hoarding include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, pica (consumption of items that are not food), Prader-Willi syndrome, psychosis and dementia.

Hoarders are generally people who exhibit the following types of behavior:

  • Collecting otherwise worthless items like trash, often with the intention to reuse or repair them
  • Difficulty discarding
  • Difficulty organizing
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty with everyday tasks
  • Extreme and jealous attachment to material possessions
  • Aversion to socializing

Hoarding is thought to begin in early adolescence and can lead to loneliness and poor, unsafe or unhygienic living conditions.

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