Compulsive hoarding

Drug abuse and addiction / Category / Emile Du Toit / May 5th 2014

Compulsive hoarding (hoarding addiction) is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by the excessive acquisition of and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment.

What is compulsive hoarding?

Compulsive hoarding or hoarding addiction is a term used in different clinical and non-clinical contexts to describe a broad spectrum of behavioural abnormities with the following pattern :

  • the acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value
  • living spaces becoming sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed
  • significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding

  • Types of hoarders

    There are so many different variations of compulsive hoarding. They can be loosely categorized under the following headings:

  • Ordinary hoarder: The hoarding of standard material things
  • Frozen indecision hoarder: ‘No decision is easy’
  • Scarcity mentality hoarder: ‘What if the depression returns?’
  • Frugality mentality hoarder: ‘Nothing should be wasted’
  • Trash hoarder: Keeping garbage is called syllogomania
  • Animal hoarder: An animal hoarder is a person who has more animals than he or she can properly care for. A defining characteristic of animal hoarders is their refusal to acknowledge their inability to care for the number of animals they have accumulated. Hoarders have been found with excess of 300 animals in a normal home.
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