Hoarding disorder is defined as the acquisition of, and inability to discard, worthless items even though they appear (to others) to have no value. People with compulsive hoarding syndrome may have immense difficulty throwing anything away, from the oldest paper clip, to a used food container, to an out-of-date newspaper, for fear that they might need those items in the future. If they have any doubt at all as to the value of an object, no matter how trivial, they will keep it ‘just in case’. Animal hoarding is when someone has more pets than they’re able to take care of and deny this inability. When an individual struggles with hoarding animals, their inability to provide nutrition, shelter and veterinary care may become prevalent through the animal.

Videos: Hoarding

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Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses a mental health condition known as hoarding disorder. Hoarding disorder is accompanied by a variety of behaviors, such as difficulty getting rid of objects that ordinary people would not have a problem getting rid of. It is also accompanied by constantly purchasing things and extreme cluttering.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses how hoarding disorder is associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The two disorders overlap, but they are not closely related. A person can have either condition separately, or both at the same time.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses the difference between clutter and hoarding. Messiness is a very low level of clutter. People who have low levels of clutter are capable of cleaning it up, whereas hoarders engage in severe cluttering and have a hard time letting things go.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses the affects hoarding disorder has on the sufferer's family members. Often times, family members do not understand why hoarders cannot throw things away. Family members have a hard time understanding the attachment that hoarders have to objects. Family members usually believe that taking a hoarder out of his/her home and cleaning it will fix the disorder. However, this does not alleviate the hoarder's attachment behaviors.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses helpful steps for hoarding disorder. The initial step is stemming the tide of incoming objects, such as stoping the acquiring. Another early step is organizing the objects and thinking through what the hoarder wants to keep and does not need to keep. Another early step is deciding which area in the house the hoarder would like to enjoy being around. Figuring out how to configure a space early on is important in this process.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses when hoarding starts. Hoarding starts in childhood, especially in the teenage years. However, most people who seek help are above 40.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses symptoms associated with hoarding disorder among children. The most common symptom in children with hoarding disorder is the difficulty parting ways with an object.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses how adult children can help their parents who have hoarding disorder. It is recommended for adult children to discuss their concerns with their parents who have hoarding disorder. If the parents are in danger and do not want to engage in conversations with them, another recommendation would be to contact their parents' city and ask if there are adult services that can be provided.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses the resources for individuals with hoarding disorder. It is highly recommended to visit the International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation's website, www.iocdf.org, and to click the hoarding section.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses denial and hoarding disorder. Those who suffer from hoarding disorder often deny their problem itself or the severity of their problem.

Gail Steketee, PhD, LICSW, discusses tips for living with someone suffering from hoarding disorder. It is important to consult with them before throwing away something. Another recommendation is convincing the hoarder to see a therapist with you. Learn more about hoarding disorder at www.peaceofmind.com.