What is Hoarding?

Hoarding Disorder includes all of the following:

1. Person collects a large number of items that appear useless 

2. These items clutter one’s living space and make it hard to use rooms as intended

3. Items cause distress in daily activities

Incidence:

    • 3-5% of population likely to have hoarding disorder
    • Likely underreported
    • If 4% of the 215,888 year round population is affected by hoarding disorder, then 8,635 Cape residents are living with hoarding disorder

Dangers:

    • Threat of falls, not being able to escape in an emergency, and house fires
    • Threats to housing stability, and evictions
    • Conflict with family, friends, and neighbors
    • Loneliness and social isolation

Who:

    • Men and women are affected at similar rates
    • Much more common in older adults (ages 55-94)
      • Symptoms first emerge at younger ages, get more severe as the person ages
    • More likely to hoard if a family member has a history of hoarding disorder

What:

    • Individuals hoard paper items including mail and newspapers, as well as clothing, containers, garbage, furniture, and food
    • Can hoard animals as well, but this is less common

Why:

    • Difficulty getting rid of items and trouble with organization
    • Strong feeling that these items will be needed at one point
    • Sentimental attachment to items

Treatment:

    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Information processing, core values, beliefs about possessions, and role of emotions
    • Medication: Can be used in addition to other treatments
    • Skills training: Learn about organization, problem solving, and decision making
    • Support groups, work with professional organizers, and behavioral health resources are also options

Links:

IOCDF Hoarding Website

IOCDF Fact Sheet

Mayo Clinic on Hoarding Disorder

Are you concerned that you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding disorder? This questionnaire may help.