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Hoarding is a subtype of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Like other compulsive behaviors, hoarding is an effort to manage the anxiety raised by obsessive doubts. There are varying levels of hoarding behavior. A diagnosis of OCD of the hoarding type is made when there is significant distress or disruption to feelings of self-worth, interpersonal relationships, education, occupation, housing, finances, legal issues, or health as a result of hoarding behavior.

Symptoms vary from person to person, but may include:

 Saving items seen by most people as unneeded or worthless, (i.e., not true collectibles).
 Compulsively buying or saving excessive quantities of items of any kind.
 Treating all saved items as equally valuable--whether or not the object has sentimental, financial or functional value.
 Experiencing intense anxiety or distress when attempting to discard—or even think about discarding—what most others view as useless objects.
 Engaging in saving activity to combat anxiety-provoking thoughts such as:
“What if I run out?”
“What if I need to know something and don’t have the information available?”
“What if I put it away and can’t find it?”
“What if the way I organize it isn’t the right way?”
“What if I throw it away but the day comes when I really need it?”

 Being unable to use furniture, rooms, or entire homes in standard ways due to saved items.
 Significant deterioration in housekeeping due to excessive clutter.