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Understanding Hoarding OCD: Recognizing the Signs

hoarding ocd Oct 29, 2023
Hoarding OCD


While many are familiar with the classic symptoms of OCD, such as excessive hand washing or compulsive checking, there is another facet of this disorder that often remains in the shadows: Hoarding OCD. Hoarding OCD is characterized by the persistent difficulty of parting with possessions, leading to the accumulation of clutter. In this blog, we will explore the key symptoms of Hoarding OCD, shedding light on this lesser-known manifestation of the disorder.

  1. Persistent Difficulty Discarding

One of the hallmark symptoms of Hoarding OCD is the inability to let go of possessions, even when they are no longer needed or have lost their value. People with this condition often experience intense anxiety and discomfort at the mere thought of getting rid of items. This difficulty in discarding belongings can result in a chaotic living environment.

  1. Excessive Accumulation of Items

Hoarding OCD often leads to the excessive accumulation of items, such as old newspapers, magazines, clothing, or even broken appliances. These items may pile up over time, taking over living spaces and making them virtually unusable. The accumulation of possessions can extend to the point where it becomes a health and safety hazard.

  1. Emotional Attachment to Objects

Individuals with Hoarding OCD tend to form strong emotional attachments to their possessions. They may believe that these items have sentimental value, even if they are seemingly worthless to others. The emotional connection to objects can intensify the fear of parting with them.

  1. Fear of Making a Mistake

A common symptom of Hoarding OCD is an overwhelming fear of making a mistake when deciding what to keep and what to discard. People with this condition often believe that if they throw something away, they will inevitably need it in the future, which only adds to their anxiety and reluctance to part with possessions.

  1. Decline in Quality of Life

The excessive clutter resulting from Hoarding OCD can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life. It can impede their ability to move freely within their living space, disrupt their daily routines, and strain relationships with family and friends. Additionally, the clutter can lead to health hazards, as it becomes a breeding ground for pests or creates tripping hazards.

  1. Social Isolation

Hoarding OCD often leads to social isolation as individuals may feel embarrassed or ashamed of their living conditions. They may avoid inviting friends and family over, further compounding their feelings of loneliness and isolation.

  1. Financial Consequences

Accumulating and hoarding possessions can have significant financial consequences. People with Hoarding OCD may continue to buy items they do not need, contributing to financial strain. Moreover, the cost of maintaining a cluttered living space, such as repairs or storage, can be a significant burden.

  1. Denial and Resistance to Help

Individuals with Hoarding OCD may be unaware of the severity of their condition or deny that it is a problem. They often resist offers of help or intervention, making it challenging to address their hoarding behaviour.


Recognizing the symptoms of Hoarding OCD is the first step toward understanding and addressing this often-overlooked manifestation of OCD. While individuals with Hoarding OCD may face unique challenges, effective treatment options are available. It's essential for those affected by this condition, as well as their loved ones, to seek help and support.

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