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Compulsive Hoarding - How Is It Different From Messy And Disorganized?

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 190

Compulsive hoarding is a spreading disease but how can you know if you have a disease or are just messy and disorganized. After all organization does not come naturally to everyone but must be learned by most. But there is a big difference between messy and disorganized and compulsive hoarding.

A compulsive hoarder will acquire and save items that they think have value and importance. Normally people displaying compulsive hoarding characteristics also have some other related condition like obsessive-compulsive disorder, dementia, or Alzheimer's. Of course the hoarding can manifest by itself as well. Typically researchers recognize it as being part of an OCD disorder. Most hoarders display compulsive behavior like ordering and counting. They tend to be perfectionists and indecisive.

The signs of compulsive hoarding go well beyond a messy home. Normally they cannot limit or control what they are collecting but go on gathering these things. They will go on shopping and even check through garbage around the neighborhood for more. They often like to inspect and count their collections and they can even display behavior known as trichotillomania which is abnormal grooming behavior. This is nail biting, compulsive hair pulling, or skin picking.

The real illness is not just the clutter in their homes but rather how they look at and think about their stuff. Normally this is based around fear. The fear of running out of something or of throwing it away and needing it in the future. There may also be an excessive emotional attachment to the items which is part of the reason they like to pile them up to keep them in sight rather than storing them away.

Hoarders have great difficulty throwing any thing away for fear it is the wrong decision. For this reason, they keep everything. They avoid the decision to throw it away to avoid the anxiety and torment that they would experience by doing any other action. Their is also a control element at work. Keeping the items gives them control over it and their lives.

Clutter in the hoarders home is only a symptom and clutter does not mean, in and of itself, that someone is a compulsive hoarder. You have to look at the entire picture to make that determination. You also need to look at the whole picture to be able to help them. To decide if they need some organizational skills or outright therapy to be able to handle their lives.

Sarah Johanson is a compulsive hoarding expert. For more great information on hoarding and clutter, visit http://www.hoardingcompulsion.org

Source: EzineArticles
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