Hoarding

Angie Szumlinski News

Definition: A persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions regardless of their actual value.

Do you know anyone (or are you one) who cannot part with things? Do you have Christmas cards from 1981 hanging on your cupboard doors? Is it difficult to walk through your home without feeling like a mouse in a maze? Maybe, just maybe, you have what is now recognized as “Hoarding Disorder”!

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM5) lists criteria as follows:

  • Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value
  • This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items and to distress associated with discarding them
  • Difficulty discarding leads to an accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter living areas and substantially compromises their intended use
  • The hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
  • The hoarding is not attributable to another medical condition
  • The hoarding is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder

I honestly think it is about time that hoarding is addressed as a mental illness! I, for one, am a minimalist in my home and work life. I often think “what did I do with that?” and then remember I donated it to charity, darn, wish I had it back, so I go and purchase a new one! Is this the start of a hoarding disorder? Not likely, however, for those of us who know and love a hoarder, it is good news that the mental health community is recognizing it as a true disorder and have treatment recommendations to share! Stay the course, stay well, and stay informed!