As individuals, people acquire and keep different things in their homes. From newspaper clippings to screw drivers, the objects people collect vary in importance and general usability; many people keep things that are practically worthless, giving objects their own relevance depending on the individual’s own experiences. Hoarding usually starts with filling a closet with useless junk, then eventually filling entire rooms rendering them unusable. Usually, those who think of themselves as compulsive buyers are at the early stages of a hoarding problem. Currently, at least 2% of the American population is suffering from a hoarding problem in one way or another, and this number is poised to grow if the condition is not addressed immediately.
There is nothing wrong with being sentimental and keeping trinkets and other things as keepsakes, but, when this desire to keep unimportant objects becomes an obsession, it can lead to more serious problems. Hoarding or compulsive saving is generally characterized by an accumulation of objects deemed useless or of little value by most people, rendering parts of or a majority of one’s home unusable due to the resulting clutter, and difficulty in discarding collected objects. Hoarders feel anxious and distressed and are unable to perform their other responsibilities when coerced to discard hoarded objects. Hoarding, and the objects accumulated through the behavior, becomes a major part of a hoarder’s life, so much so, that every other aspect of one’s life is set aside.
As with substance abuse and addiction, hoarding is a problem that requires the assistance of a licensed professional. Often, an intervention is required to encourage a hoarder to face the problem and seek professional help. At any rate, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional immediately so that the hoarder will get the appropriate care he or she needs – before the condition gets worse.