Switzerland: compulsive hoarding? Whats mean this?



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Questions and Answers about Compulsive Hoarding

Is hoarding a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Right now, compulsive hoarding is considered by many researchers to be a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

However, for some people, compulsive hoarding may also be related to:

  • Impulse control disorders (such as impulsive buying or stealing)
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Certain personality traits



How common is compulsive hoarding? What are its features?

We don't know exactly. Some researchers have guessed that about half of one percent of the population suffers from compulsive hoarding, but the actual number may be much higher. 

People usually start hoarding during childhood or early adolescence, although the problem usually does not become severe until the person is an adult.

Compulsive hoarding may run in families.

Many people with compulsive hoarding do not recognize how bad the problem really is; often it is a family member who is most bothered by the clutter.



What causes compulsive hoarding?

Compulsive hoarding is thought to result from problems in one or more of these areas:

Information processing.

People with compulsive hoarding often have problems such as:

  • Difficulty categorizing their possessions (for example, deciding what is valuable and what is not)
  • Difficulty making decisions about what to do with possessions
  • Trouble remembering where things are (and so they often want to keep everything in sight so they don't forget)



Beliefs about possessions.

People with compulsive hoarding often:


Feel a strong sense of emotional attachment toward their possessions (for example, an object might be felt to be very special, or a part of them)


Feel a need to stay in control of their possessions (and so they don't want anyone touching or moving their possessions)

Worry about forgetting things (and use their possessions as visual reminders)



Emotional distress about discarding.

People with compulsive hoarding often:


Feel very anxious or upset when they have to make a decision about discarding things

Feel distressed when they see something they want and think they can't feel better until they acquire that object

Control their uncomfortable feelings by avoiding making the decision or putting it off until later