Hoarding disorder: beyond the mess

Credit: Carles Rabada / Unsplash

Hoarding disorder has often been sensationalized on reality TV, but it’s far more complicated than just being overly messy.

Let’s delve deeper into what causes hoarding and how people can seek help for this mental health condition.

Understanding Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding is a mental health issue where individuals find it incredibly challenging to part with possessions, regardless of how insignificant those items may appear to others. It’s not merely a matter of being disorganized; hoarding can significantly disrupt a person’s daily life.

Comprehending hoarding is akin to solving a complex puzzle. It appears to be a combination of inherited traits, brain functioning, and life experiences that contribute to this condition.

Born to Hoard?

Hoarding often runs in families. A 2014 study found that having a family member who hoards increases the likelihood of hoarding behavior.

However, it’s like being dealt a set of playing cards – having these genes raises the odds but doesn’t guarantee one will become a hoarder.

Brain Function and Emotional Impact

People with hoarding disorder frequently grapple with decision-making, particularly when it involves parting with possessions. Brain studies have shown that when they are asked to let go of items, specific areas of their brain become highly active.

These are the same brain regions responsible for decision-making and emotional regulation. This suggests that the act of discarding possessions can be a stressful and emotionally charged experience for hoarders.

Life Events and Emotional Safety Nets

Certain life events, such as the loss of a loved one, can trigger hoarding behaviors. Some individuals may begin collecting items as a form of emotional support, akin to having a security blanket made of belongings.

Additionally, growing up in a cluttered household may increase the likelihood of becoming a hoarder later in life.

Seeking Solutions

Understanding hoarding goes beyond recognizing why someone struggles to let go of things. It involves unraveling a complex web of genetic, emotional, and environmental factors. The more we learn, the better equipped we are to provide assistance.

If you or someone you know grapples with hoarding, it’s essential to consult a mental health professional. They can offer effective strategies to manage this condition.

Remember, it’s okay to seek help – sometimes, we all need support, especially when dealing with a complex issue like hoarding disorder.

If you care about mental health, please read studies about 6 daily habits to reduce stress & anxiety, and B vitamins could help prevent depression and anxiety.

For more information about mental health, please see recent studies about a big cause of depression in middle-aged and older people, and results showing a drug that can reduce depression and suicidal thoughts.

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