Hoarding (aka compulsive hoarding) is a type of obtrusive behavior, consisting in collecting and keeping needless belongings, mostly the articles of daily use in so great amounts that they prevent to use living premises on their direct purpose. For example, the residents cannot freely move in their dwelling, comfortably to accept food, go to bathroom, have a rest, bring up children. All this activity is partly or completely impossible because of obtrusive character of the accumulated stuff.
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People subjected to this disorder rationalize their behavior and consider it to be normal even at the extreme degree of manifestation.
Hoarding, sometimes to the extreme extent, can be caused by the lack of material attention in childhood. In many cases inclination to hoarding appears in connection with some serious existential problems, such as a divorce, serious disease or death of near man that originally stimulates a desire to keep the things of a gone relative, but gradually obtrusive hoarding begins to include other objects and becomes a threat to the normal existence. The man obsessed with hoarding is extremely affectionate to his belongings, he felt miserable when he had to throw away something.
Before to throw out an old thing, such a man begin to think: maybe I can still use this thing or its part? It is also peculiar to keep unnecessary, but “expensive as memory” belongings.
The indications on hoarding:
- Keeping old, useless and needless stuff, all or almost all, even those that improbably to use somehow in the future is very high;
- Storing the old stuff in a heap, without sorting it;
- Not using the old stuff for repair or constructing.
The American Educational Establishment for professional organizers has worked out a scale from 1 to 5, characterizing the degree of hoarding. The first degree is characterized by free access to the doors and stairs in the patient living premises, disorder in it is not excessive, the safety of residence is maintained. A fifth degree is characterized by the obvious impossibility to use the living premises on their original purpose: destruction of walls, absence of electric power, water-supply or sewage system; the patient prefers to sleep outside because of the little use of his house for habitation.
The main reason for hoarding is inability of parting with things. The value of thing is here realized as its possible positive application. Also rarer the thing can have an aesthetic or historical value for the individual. Parting with the thing is perceived as a loss.
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