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.