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Deb Gleeson - 22 May 2018

Hoarding is an anxiety disorder

Did you know that Hoarding is an anxiety disorder?

Learn more about Hoarding.

Hoarding is a type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Why do people hoard. We know this is a complex issue but it generally understood that people hoard 'losely' for one of two reasons.

Either a person is attributing 'emotions' to inanimate objects or a person is asserting control over objects because they feel that they have lost control in their life.

Now most people who hoard have no idea that they are subconsciously do this.

Over the next three week in our blogs we will give real life examples of hoarding.

This blog is about….


Very early on in my career in Mental Health I met a lady whose husband had asked for assistance because her hoarding had made their home virtually unlivable.

Each room of their home was filled to amazing extents with different types of items. For example the lounge area was filled with vases and the kitchen with newspapers. Neither room could be used for its original purpose.

Working with this lady I was able to help her identify why she 'collected' vases. Her mother had been a very good flower arranger and had won prizes at the local agricultural show every year for her skill. This lady had two vases that belonged to her mother in a room of a thousand or more vases. She greatly valued the vases because they made her feel that a part of her mother was still with her. Over the years she had attempted to increase that 'feeling/emotion' that she got from the two original vases by 'collecting' more vases. When we think of the emotion attached to the word 'mother' you can see that all these vases had taken on a huge feeling of, being cared for and loved, in her life. She couldn't even identify the two original vases and every vase meant the same feeling to her.

The newspapers in the kitchen were more difficult to identify but we eventually worked out the reason she found it very difficult to think of throwing them away. This lady was estranged from her daughter and had been for about 15 years. Before the estrangement, her daughter and son-in-law had visited her once together. She felt she had made a connection with her son-in-law, over an article in a newspaper and had never thrown out the newspaper since.. She was willing to throw the newspapers away once she had cut out the articles from the papers that she thought would interest her son-in-law, but never got around to doing this. This was important to her as she felt this was a way to stay connected to her daughter. All her hopes and dreams about reconnecting with her daughter were caught up in those newspapers.

You can see how getting rid of these items would be very difficult of this lady.

We will talk about treatment options for hoarding in the next couple of blogs. Next blog hoarding to get the illusion of control.

Remember Mental Health is everyone's business.