Compulsive Hoarding Syndrome, a Devastating Disorder

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You can't have everything, where would you put it?


Imagine you wake to find that your house is on fire. Most people

can name the few possessions that are near and dear to their hearts that

they would grab immediately before exiting their burning home.

Imagine feeling that strongly about each and every single thing you

possess, and now imagine that your home is so full of possessions that

all that stuff actually prohibits you exiting in a safe and timely manner

during any emergency situation, including a fire.

Compulsive Hoarding Syndrome affects approximately 1.4 to 2

million people in the United States. It is hard to prepare the numbers of

hoarders for statistics because of the debilitating shame the people who

suffer from this mental illness feel, therefore, many are not even

counted. It is also hard because there is not a consistent definition of

Hoarding or Compulsive Hoarding Syndrome. The term is used to

describe a broad spectrum of behavioral abnormalities. The most

commonly accepted definition is a person who acquires and fails to

discard enormous amounts of possessions that are useless or of very

little value to most people, the clutter imposes such an inconvenience

that normal uses of most rooms are not able to be used for the

designated purpose and the clutter causes much distress and limited

functioning of the person with the syndrome. I wish to define the

different types of hoarding, expose the dangers of hoarding, and explain

some treatment options.

According to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, “little is known about

onset and course of compulsive hoarding” (Grisham). There are several

common types of hoarding. One is known as the frugal mentality hoarder

who thinks that nothing should be wasted, my very own grandmother is

one of this type. Next is the scarcity mentality hoarder who thinks only

of if the depression...
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