Dr. David Tolin says you may have a compulsive hoarding problem if you meet all three of these criteria:
1. You regularly hang onto a large number of possessions that most other people would not consider to be very useful or valuable. For example, many people with compulsive hoarding problems hang on to things like:
  • Junk mail
  • Old catalogs and newspapers
  • Things that might be useful for making crafts (although you don't actually get around to using them for that purpose)
  • Things you think you might want to give to others as gifts (although you never actually give them)
  • Clothes you think you might want to wear someday (but you don't actually wear them)
  • Broken things that you think you might want to fix someday (but you never actually get around to fixing them)
  • "Freebies" you pick up 
2. Your home, or parts of your home, is so cluttered that you can no longer use those parts of your home for their intended purpose. For example, many people with compulsive hoarding problems have:
  • Beds they cannot sleep in
  • Kitchens they cannot cook in
  • Tables they cannot use for dining
  • Chairs or sofas they cannot sit on 
3. The clutter is bad enough that it causes significant distress or impairment. For example, many people with compulsive hoarding problems report that they:
  • Cannot have friends or family over to their homes because they are so embarrassed by the clutter
  • Cannot let repair or maintenance professionals into their homes because they don't want them to see the clutter, so things don't get fixed
  • Keep the shades drawn so no one can see inside
  • Get into a lot of arguments with family members about the clutter
  • Are at risk of fire, falling, infestation or eviction
  • Feel depressed or anxious much of the time because of the clutter 
If you recognize yourself in these compulsive hoarding signs, Dr. Tolin says some treatments may help you to manage the symptoms.

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FROM: How Clean Is Your House?
Published on October 06, 2009


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