Hoarding is a mental health disorder in which people pack their homes with so many items of limited or no use that they can create health risks to themselves and anyone they live with. This need to save items is often compounded by getting upset when they are confronted about their hoarding and the need to clean house.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) tells us that approximately 2.6% of all adults exhibit signs of hoarding regardless of sex or race. And the American Journal of Psychiatry found that half of people who hoard can identify a relative with a similar propensity, raising the possibility of a genetic component to hoarding.

Hoarding can be challenging to treat. While Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a common treatment and can offer relief, most still retain propensities to hoard after such treatment. In fact, CBT is less successful against hoarding than it is against depression and anxiety.

People should consult their physicians if they or a loved one suffer from hoarding. They can also contact support groups such as the American Hoarding Alliance for information and possible support.

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