What is Hoarding OCD?
If you suffer from hoarding OCD, then you will often find yourself unable to throw away any objects that may seem useless or worthless. You can accumulate a large number of objects on a regular basis and it will be difficult for you to part with them. Regardless of how insignificant the items may seem, you tend to hold onto everything that is given to you, including newspapers, clothing, and old food items.
In addition to hoarding objects, people with this type of OCD will often experience significant distress when others try to clear out the clutter in their homes. They may become angry or upset at the thought of their living environment being changed in any way.
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Symptoms of Hoarding OCD
Hoarding can be a very distressing disorder and can take over a person’s life completely. The symptoms of hoarding OCD can vary from person to person, but some of the most common ones are:
- Feelings of shame or guilt about the way you live your life – if you feel this way about your hoarding, it is a good sign that you may have a problem and should seek help.
- Difficulty discarding things even when they are no longer useful – if you find yourself becoming attached to junk or clutter and unable to let go of it, this is another indication of hoarding OCD.
- Trouble organizing your space and keeping it clean – if you have trouble with organizing or maintaining your home because of the clutter, this is another sign that you may have a hoarding problem.
- Feeling anxious or stressed when attempting to discard items – if you experience overwhelming anxiety when trying to get rid of things, this could be a sign that you are dealing with hoarding OCD.
- Consistent procrastination about cleaning or organizing – if you find that you are always putting off cleaning or organizing tasks, this could be because you have difficulty making decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of.
Obsessions of Hoarding OCD
Hoarding OCD obsessions can include a wide range of thoughts and behaviors centered around the desire to collect and keep things, regardless of their actual worth or usefulness. Some common obsessive thoughts that may be experienced by individuals with hoarding disorder include:
- Fear that others will view certain items as being worthless or useless, leading them to criticize or shame the individual for their collection of these items.
- Concern that possessions may be needed at some point in the future and will therefore need to be kept, even if they are not currently in use.
- Fear that most possessions will become damaged or unusable after a certain period of time has passed, so they must be kept indefinitely.
- Fear that certain possessions may have special meaning or sentimental value, which justifies the act of collecting and keeping them.
- Concern that receiving gifts from others will place pressure on the individual to reciprocate with an equal gift in return, leading them to hoard various items because they may be needed later on as potential gifts.
Compulsions of Hoarding OCD
Hoarding OCD compulsions typically include behaviors that are designed to help individuals manage their anxiety and avoid the feelings of discomfort associated with having too many items in their homes. These behaviors usually involve excessive cleaning, organizing, sorting, or other obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Some common hoarding OCD compulsions include:
- Repeatedly checking items to make sure they are in their proper place.
- Repeatedly counting, organizing, or re-sorting items in an effort to keep clutter under control.
- Refusing to get rid of old or broken items, even if they are no longer useful.
- Frequently cleaning the home or other areas to keep them clean and free of clutter.
- Avoiding throwing anything away, even if it is damaged or no longer useful.
- Avoiding making any decisions that might result in having to get rid of any items.
- Refusing to let others touch or move their belongings, even if it is necessary to complete a task or clean their home.
- Struggling with strong urges to acquire new items, even if they do not really need them and have limited space for storing these items at home.