Warning Signs of Hoarding

Learn the causes, risk factors, and symptoms of hoarding.

By Reader's Digest Editors

If you’ve seen the A&E TV show, Hoarders, you’ve seen what it looks like to have your life consumed by “stuff.” For hoarders, and for the people who love them, this condition can be debilitating. In the house of a hoarder, nearly ever inch of space is stacked with clutter, which hoarders believe they cannot throw away for fear that they may need it later or because it holds some sort of emotional significance.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some key symptoms to watch out for if you believe you or someone you know may be a hoarder are:

  • Cluttered living spaces
  • Moving items from one pile to another without the ability to throw anything away
  • Acquiring useless items, including trash, newspapers, and magazines
  • Emotional attachment to possessions
  • Cutting off social interactions

If you believe someone you know has a hoarding problem it is best to get help from a professional. Fugen Neziroglu, PhD, co-author of Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding, encourages family members to confront hoarders about the problem with the help of an experienced therapist. Experts like Neziroglu caution that disposing of a person’s belongings without permission can lead to trauma for the hoarder.

Learn more signs of hoarding

Source: Mayo Clinic

Plus: How to Know When Your Clutter is Out of Control

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  • Your Comments

    • Fred

      I believe its a mental state. The consumption of things that make an individual feel whole as a person. To consume the empty space inside them with things that make them feel better about whatever caused the emptiness in the first place. Its sad, but we all deal with things differently. I guess this is their way of dealing.

    • Justincopeland

       There is so little known about this very serious debilitating disorder. I have/had a parent with this disorder & it has been extremely difficult. It ultimately contributed to her early death. I believe it stems from other hurtful, unresolved issues in life. God does not want us to live this way or carry such pain around with us all the time. Knowing the healing power & unconditional love of Jesus Christ is the way to overcome the hurt. I have seen prayers answered. Find a bible based church in your area, walk through the front door, & tell them you need help. God will meet you there.

    • Ckworth317

      This is a serious condition among those of us that have it, family and freiend don’t understand the cause or reason nor do the hoarders, I can sat this we have been truly buried alive and drownding in the mess!!

    • JACQUELINE

      PARENTS THAT CLUTTER NOT ONLY HAVE PROBLEMS THEMSELVES BUT IT PASSES  ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION AND SHAME ON TO OTHERS AROUND THEM CHILDREN AND FAMILY

      • Bill Smells

        This is a very old post. Excellent use of all caps to be more obnoxious than a loudspeaker in the ear. Have you learned how to use punctuation yet?