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Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession. Mental Disorder is a psychological or bodily condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological functioning of the individual.
Hoarding, unfortunately, could fall under all of these definitions.
An addiction is continued for pleasure while a compulsion is done in order to avoid pain or discomfort, even if collecting things initially causes great joy and/or pleasure to the person.
People who hoard tend to keep multiple things, but some of the more popular among the three to five percent who suffer from compulsive hoarding are: clothing, newspaper, trash, animals, food and/or books and magazines.
People who compulsively hoard, don’t always have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but according to Psychology Today 24.3 percent of individuals with OCD also hoard. OCD is an added factor of compulsive negative thoughts that induce the sensation that keeping or collecting things will help subside the inner thoughts.
While a person can be addicted to a habit or practice, hoarding is much more than that. It doesn’t really provide a pleasure of keeping the objects, but creates a feeling of helplessness and incapacity to escape.
An excerpt from Psychology Today read, “The psychological motivation for starting and continuing hoarding is different from the motives for addictive behavior. Compulsive hoarding is not considered an addiction in the clinical meaning of the word, although compulsive behaviors can exist in addiction.”
In May 2013, The American Psychiatric Association declared hoarding as an official mental disorder. Hoarding is one of 11 disorders newly classified in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
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