A hoarding disorder is where someone acquires an excessive number of itemsand stores them in a chaotic manner. The items can be of little or no monetary value and usually result in unmanageable amounts of clutter.

It's considered to be a significant problem if:

  • the amount of clutter interferes with everyday living for example, the person isunable to use their kitchen or bathroom and cannot access rooms
  • the clutter is causing significant distress or negatively affectingthe person's quality of life or their family's for example, they become upset if someone tries to clear the clutter andtheir relationships with others suffer

Hoarding disorders are challenging to treat, because many people who hoard frequently don't see it as a problem, or have little awareness of how it's impacting their life or the lives of others. Manyothers do realise they have a problem, but are reluctant to seek help because they feel extremely ashamed, humiliated or guilty about it.

It's really important to encourage a person who is hoarding to seek help, as their difficulties discarding objects can not onlycause loneliness and mental health problems, but also pose a health and safety risk. If not tackled, it's a problem that will probably never go away.

This page explains:

  • Hoarding disorder
  • what's the difference between hoarding and collecting?
  • signs of a hoarding disorder
  • itemspeople may hoard
  • whyhoarding disorders are a problem
  • what you can do if you suspect someone is hoarding
  • how hoarding disorders are treated
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016