Hoarding Disorder May Get Its Start in Childhood

Hoarding disorder wasn't included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders until 2013. Even though we've all heard stories of people who were discovered to have houses full so full of stuff they couldn't get around, we didn't know it was a particular kind of psychological problem until television and the internet made us aware of the number of people affected. People often managed to hide this quirk until old age became an excuse for having too much stuff or being unable to clear things out. Recent research shows that it can be a lifelong problem, which may have started in childhood.

Some folks who show hoarding behavior appear to have this disorder from early childhood, while others were triggered by trauma somewhere along the way. The disorder happens when people attribute inordinate importance to objects they acquire and also have trouble managing their lives. They see their things as important for having memories attached to them, or else see their possible future usefulness. People with the disorder can often think back to when it began to be a problem, even though no one else would know about it until decades later.

We often consider psychological difference in people to be no real problem until it begins to affect one's ordinary life. Hoarders aren't identified as people who have a lot of possessions, because a lot of people do, and they manage just fine. Hoarding only becomes apparent when someone can't use their living spaces as intended because they are so full of possessions. However, the feelings and habits that led to the problem may have begun many years earlier, as far back as childhood. Read how hoarding disorder began for some people and what we might be able to do to head it off early at the Conversation.  -via Damn Interesting 

(Image credit: Adam73

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