+ What Causes Compulsive Hoarding?
Compulsive hoarding is thought to result from problems in one or more of these areas:
Information processing. People with compulsive hoarding often have problems such as:
- Difficulty categorizing their possessions (for example, deciding what is valuable and what is not)
- Difficulty making decisions about what to do with possessions
- Trouble remembering where things are (and so they often want to keep everything in sight so they don't forget)
Beliefs about possessions. People with compulsive hoarding often:
- Feel a strong sense of emotional attachment toward their possessions (for example, an object might be felt to be very special, or a part of them.)
- Feel a need to stay in control of their possessions (and so they don't want anyone touching or moving their possessions.)
- Worry about forgetting things (and use their possessions as visual reminders.)
Emotional distress about discarding. People with compulsive hoarding often:
- Feel very anxious or upset when they have to make a decision about discarding things.
- Feel distressed when they see something they want and think they can't feel better until they acquire that object.
- Control their uncomfortable feelings by avoiding making the decision or putting it off until later.