Throughout our posts, we focus on many differing areas of Hoarding Disorder, today we are going back to basics and looking into common Hoarding Disorder Symptoms. It is really important to understand the base line characteristics of Hoarding Disorder before you can start to understand it on a deeper level.

Common Hoarding Disorder Symptoms

Not every symptom is as obvious, and those not visible to the eye can be overlooked, by ensuring you know the crucial pointers that signify an individual may have a significant problem with Hoarding Disorder, can result in them accessing the correct level of support.

a hoarded kitchen

Excessive Accumulation:

There is a persistent and excessive accumulation of possessions that clutter living areas to the extent that their intended use is compromised and the home may be unsanitary or unsafe. This leads to the individuals day to day life and activities being severely impaired.

hoarding disorder clearance

Difficulty Discarding:

Individuals with Hoarding Disorder have extreme difficulty discarding possessions, regardless of their actual value. They often experience intense distress at the thought of getting rid of items.

a hoarded hallway

Lack of self recognition:

Understanding the severity of the hoarding problem can vary among individuals, some may recognise that their behaviour is problematic, while others may not see it as an issue. It is always important to remember that Hoarding Disorder is a mental health condition, and individuals that suffer with it can be as numbed to the effects as those with all other mental health conditions.

a hoarded bedroom of someone with hoarding disorder

Avoidance of Discarding:

Linking with Difficultly Discarding, the intense emotions often leads to those with hoarding disorder often avoid making decisions about what to discard, and this avoidance can extend to tasks such as sorting, organising, and disposing of possessions. This highlights why it is important to ensure clearances are done at the pace the client can handle and is in full control of.

Hoarded bedroom

Emotional Attachment:

This could be pinpointed as the most important to understand and recognise. Hoarding Disorder is mostly the action in response to a life event or traumatic experience which causes strong emotional attachment to possessions, and they may believe that these items hold sentimental value or may be needed in the future.

We very commonly have people joke about having hoarding issues because they like to keep the cupboards stocked at all times or have that cupboard of doom that never gets sorted, however, this post highlights it is much more than that to really be classified as Hoarding Disorder. Although, we know Hoarding Disorder comes in varying levels of severity, understanding and being able to spot these Hoarding Disorder symptoms, is crucial in ensuring individuals receive the correct level of care.

Want to learn more about Hoarding Disorder Symptoms & the steps to support?

The next public session of our CPD Accredited Hoarding Awareness Training takes place on Wednesday 7th February 2024.

This one day online session covers not only the background to hoarding disorder symptoms but also the crucial steps for implementing support –

Module 1 – Background to Hoarding 

  • Understanding hoarding
  • Historical hoarders
  • Positive Engagement

Module 2 – Supportive Intervention 

  • Strength Based Approaches
  • Assessments
  • Techniques

Module 3 – Supportive Engagement

  • How to develop tactics for working with clients
  • Best Practice
  • Recap of learning

The training can also be provided in-house, please email

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