A Complete Guide to Hoarding Meaning

Hoarding is an often misunderstood condition that affects the way people think, feel and act. It is defined as “the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distresses at the thought of discarding the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.”

Let’s understand hoarding meaning

A display in a room

The term hoarding meaning refers to the behavior of collecting items that have little value and stuffing them in poorly organized storage areas. The items may be anything but most commonly they consist of old newspapers, magazines, or junk mail. Hoarders fail to throw out these items even when there is no space left for new things. Ultimately clutter builds up all-around their home making it very difficult for others to walk through doorways and navigate around furniture.

Hoarding can also occur with animals like cats or dogs that collect piles of feces, urine, or vomit.

Hoarding meaning is not the same as collecting. People who collect things like stamps or baseball cards are typically very organized and can tell you about every single object they own. Hoarders on the other hand fail to recognize that their behavior interferes with day-to-day living and causes distress.

Hoarding Meaning and factor to diagnosed

Text, letter

Hoarding meaning is more than just collecting things that are seemingly useless or have little value to others. There are a number of other factors that need to be present for this disorder to be diagnosed:

• The excessive acquisition and inability or unwillingness to discard items even when they have no use or value. Items such as rubbish, old newspapers, and mail may collect in huge piles around the home. Living spaces can become so cluttered that it’s impossible for one person to walk through them without bumping into things. Hoarders often report feeling overwhelmed when in these spaces and avoid going in there because of the feelings of anxiety and disgust that arise from seeing objects piled all around them.

• Feelings of distress when trying to reduce clutter in the home

• Inability to function in social situations for fear of being embarrassed. This may be due to the fear of criticism about their living conditions. When asked why they don’t clean up their home, hoarders often report feeling afraid that if they throw out items they will lose them, then feel overwhelmed with sadness or anger, ruminate on how terrible this would then end up doing nothing at all to improve the situation.

• Items are not easily accessible and causes distress when attempting to access something needed for example keys or important documents

• Hoarders fail to recognize the negative effect it has on their interpersonal relationships

Hoarding subtypes

People who hoard compulsively usually experience one or more of four subtypes: animal hoarding, collecting, hoarding junk including trash resulting in unsanitary conditions, and pathological accumulation of items resulting in disorganization.

Animal Hoarding is when people compulsively hoard animals to an extent that they are unable to provide for their basic needs, resulting in animal neglect. The person with this subtype of hoarding has failed to recognize the effects on themselves and others. They often fail to see how many animals they have or how deprived they are because all of their time is spent taking care of them even if it involves sacrificing their own health and wellbeing. Animal hoarders who suffer from schizophrenia are more likely to be unemployed, single, older females who live alone unless there’s a co-morbid diagnosis such as depression or anxiety disorders.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter