Obsessive Compulsive Hoarding Disorder(OCHD)is a mental disorder that affects millions of Americans. It is characterized by people that excessively collect items they will never use. The compulsion to store items takes over their lives. They are also known as "hoarders." For some reason, they can never throw these things away. In extreme cases, it clutters up their homes. This is dangerous bacterias and viruses can accumulate in their homes. Visitors can also be exposed. According to one health clinic, hoarders often view their behavior as normal. This is the biggest reason why this disorder is difficult to treat. Hoarders have trouble recognizing the difference between saving something for a specific purpose and cluttering space. Everyone is a "pack rat" sometimes, but hoarders take this to an extreme. If you exhibit these 5 signs, then you may have OCHD:

You Cannot Seem To Throw Anything Away

Hoarders often find value in things that other people consider worthless. Other people might throw away a worn out football, but a hoarder will save it because it brings back good childhood memories. Or, they may keep an old shirt because it represents their favorite sports team. They have difficulty throwing away old items and sometimes, hoarders will buy new things and never wear them. This is probably the number one sign of hoarding. Most people use drawers to store old junk, but hoarders will often use their entire house. They practically have a store within their house. They will keep boxes, old shoes, clothing, paper, pillows, or whatever they think is worth saving. Some hoarders know that they need to organize their items, but they cannot bring themselves to do it.

You Refuse To Have Used Items Fixed

People with OCHD often keep used products because they have sentimental value to them. For example, a hoarder may not throw away a used stamp because they feel that it may be valuable someday. Or maybe they do not want to get an old radio fixed because it was their first one. Instead of buying something new, they would rather keep the old item. Even when it is no longer useful, hoarders will often save them and let them take up space. If someone suggests that they get rid of them, some hoarders get hostile.

You Have Trouble Walking Through Your Home

Extreme hoarders often have trouble walking through their home. Their homes are so cluttered that they have to be careful not to bump something. The basement is usually the most unorganized part of the house. Surprisingly, some of them are so used to this lifestyle, that they pretty much know where everything is. This is a career hoarder. Some of them are not embarrassed when family and friends come to visit their unorganized homes. This is just their everyday life. This is not good because someone could stumble and hurt themselves. Being a hoarder can also be deadly a fire could break out. People have died from extreme hoarding.

You Hoard Animals You Cannot Properly Take Care Of

Hoarders often take care of more animals than they have time for. The will have dogs and cats roaming through their homes, or in their basements. Some of them take care of hundreds of animals at one time. These animals will often have organized cages or shelters. While it is a great thing to love animals, hoarders are not helping them. These pets would be better off at an animal shelter, where they can be cared for by professionals.

You Become Socially Isolated

Some hoarders become isolate themselves from family members and friends. They use excuses to explain their cluttered environment. Hoadrers  sometimes become almost imprisoned in their own homes. Their children often suffer because they do not want to be embarassed by the home. They often have trouble dealing with their emotions and suffer from depression. Dealing with social situations is often difficult for them. Hoarding helps them deal with this problem. Low self-esteem affects hoarders. Hoarders often talk about things rather than people.

If you feel that you may suffer from OCHD, then you should consult your doctor. He or she will suggest the best ways to treat this disorder. If you get proper treatment, you can be cured of this ailment. Some cities have local agencies that can help you. Do some research and try and find some OCHD support groups. Searching the Internet is an outstanding source for finding the information that you need.  


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