Hoarding is often associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, anxiety, depression and other disorders that promote stress. Hoarders have an uncontrollable urge to collect items and have an often times irrational connection to them. They will refuse to dispose of items even if they have no space or need for them.  Sometimes hoarders will agree to discard items, but later sift through trash to regain possession of them.

Although hoarding is often confined to items, sometimes people hoard animals. Regardless of what the hoarder collects, hoarding can damage relationships, cause unsanitary living conditions and facilitate worrying, embarrassment and stress. For example, hoarders often do not have adequate storage room. Thus, collected items can cause clutter or obstruct access to essential areas of the house such as toilets, refrigerators, doorways and other necessary areas. If the hoarder collects animals, he may be unable to adequately care for them. The house may smell from urine, pet hair and feces. Clutter and unsafe conditions can lead to problems with relationships that often result in the hoarder becoming isolated.

The psychological issues of hoarding are coming to the forefront in the television show Hoarding: Buried Alive, featured on The Learning Channel. The show depicts how hoarding can interfere with relationships and personal safety. Viewers can learn how hoarding can impair many aspects of healthy living. Recognizing that you are a hoarder and realizing that you are not alone can help you decide to seek help.

I am a licensed counselor who has been treating patients in the Philadelphia Main Line area for the past ten years. If your house and lifestyle are messy and disorganized because you are hoarding, I can help you. Talking about your problem and participating in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help reduce your hoarding habits, so you can lead a healthy, less stressful life. Patients who hoard items usually have trouble with decision-making and organizational skills. I can assist you in becoming more decisive, organizing your collection and gradually discarding items that you do not need.