Are You a Hoarder?

As one of the economic hubs in Asia, it’s natural to find some of the best shopping spots in Singapore. Who doesn’t love shopping? It’s a therapeutic activity after a stressful week of working. But do you find yourself buying more than you actually need? Is your closet filled with items that you don’t use but can’t throw away because you might need them someday?

What is hoarding?
There is nothing wrong with collecting items. Collectors feel proud in displaying their possessions and even engage in money-making through trading and auction. Collectors organize their items and keep them clean and in pristine condition so they can be sold later or passed on to the next generation. Hoarding on the other hand can be embarrassing for the affected person. They don’t display the items and feel uncomfortable when other people see the clutter. Collectors budget their money and plan their next purchase, while hoarders acquire new items at the expense of other basic needs.

Why are they hoarding?
Hoarding is no longer collecting because the nature of the items could be anything from paper, household supplies, clothing old containers, and others which can’t be displayed like a collection of toys, shoes, and artwork. Hoarders keep items because they think those can be used in the future. Other also feel that the items have sentimental value which will remind them of people, pets, events and other happy memories. They feel safe around their items and it sort of forms a barrier.

What are the symptoms?
You might be a hoarder if you have the following symptoms:
1. Feeling of anxiousness when asked to throw away items.
2. You’re unable to throw away items even if you feel you have to.
3. You cannot organize the items you have collected.
4. Feeling of embarrassment for having such items, often hiding them from visitors.
5. You fear that you will run out of items.
6. You suspect someone of trying to steal the items when they touch or look at them.
7. Feeling of accidentally discarding items that might be useful in the future.
8. Your growing collection has taken so much of your time and effort.
9. Your family and friends are affected by your obsession because of lack of interaction.
10. Your home is full of items. There is not enough space to function normally.

How is it cured?
If these symptoms have greatly impaired your life and has affected you and your family, you could be suffering from a disorder such as depression, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder. Hoarding is just a symptom of any of such disorders and other more serious ailments such as dementia or psychosis. If you suspect that you are or someone you know is a hoarder, visit a psychiatrist to determine the best treatment program. Treatment could be in the form of psychotherapy and/or medications. The doctor will also ask the help of members of the family for home remedies.