Maryann Murphy,  - Helping You and Your Team Get More Done!
Is it Hoarding?
What is Hoarding?
There has been a lot of attention paid lately to "Hoarders", people who collect and hold onto things long past the time when those things are useful, and in a way that interferes with them functioning effectively in their homes or offices.  Oprah, Dr. Phil, and the A&E TV Show "Hoarders" have all shown examples of people who have become powerless over their "stuff" and have lost friends, family members, jobs, and homes because of their hoarding.
But is hoarding the same as being a "packrat" or a collector, or just someone who likes to be frugal and hold on to things they might use?
Saving and collecting become serious problems when they cause significant distress or interfere with your ability to function, when there are safety or health problems because of the quantity or age of things being saved (expired dates on foods and medicines), and when they interfere with you being able to use your rooms the way they were intended to be used.
Compulsive hoarding is often associated with the pain of loss - the death of a loved one may be dealt with by hanging on to everything that loved one owned.  Experiencing traumatic losses of security may result in holding on to "things" to help feel that you'll never be vulnerable again.  But saving (and constantly acquiring new things) without getting rid of anything inevitably leads to problems. 
Compulsive hoarding is considered a mental health problem because it does involve a loss of control over behavior, difficulty making decisions, and other symptoms that interfere with emotional well-being.  People who hoard often have one or more other mental disorders as well, such as Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Social Phobia or ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). 
What to do if you think You
or Someone you Love
is a Hoarder
First of all, recognize that it may be a problem and get help from someone who is experienced at dealing with these issues.  There are different levels of severity of the problem, and the type of help you may need depends on where you are on the "Clutter Hoarding Scale".  Whether or not your situation qualifies as "Compulsive Hoarding", if the situation is causing you anxiety, upset or pain, there is help out here!
It is important to find professionals (especially a Professional Organizer and possibly a cognitive-behavioral Therapist) with experience and specific training on this topic.  Members of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD) such as myself study the many factors that contribute to people being chronically disorganized, and the strategies and techniques for helping them most effectively. Contact one of us to get evaluated, and start getting help for you or your loved one today.
Maryann Murphy, MSW
Member, National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD)
Chronic Disorganization Specialist
Certificates of Study earned in:
Chronic Disorganization,
Basic Hoarding Issues with the CD Client,
Basic ADD Issues with the CD Client, 
Basic Physical Conditions Affecting the CD Client.
Call (508) 292-6706
to find out more about resources on hoarding
or email me at
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