Compulsive hoarding is a potentially serious psychological problem that many people, and their families, have to deal with. It’s estimated that compulsive hoarding disorders affect between one in 50, or even as many as one in 20, people in the general population. The problem is very similar to other psychological disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, that affect how people interact with objects and the world around them.
When you, or loved one, is affected by compulsive hoarding, understanding this behavior and how you can effectively deal with it will greatly benefit your life. Not only that, but understanding the issue can also help someone who has a compulsive hoarding disorder develop an effective estate plan.
Compulsive hoarding is a behavior that manifests itself in three main ways. First, a compulsive hoarder is someone who tends to collect a lot of possessions, even when there is no strong need to do so. Second, compulsive hoarders experience strong positive emotions when acquiring new things, and strong negative motions when discarding of even the most mundane items. Third, a compulsive hoarder’s possessions typically interfere with day-to-day activities, and can easily result in additional daily stress for both the hoarder, and his or her family.
Why People Hoard
Compulsive hoarding is often a difficult psychological issue to deal with because of the strong emotions involved. People who compulsively collect or buy things often get a great sense of enjoyment from the acquisitions. This emotional reinforcement can make them want to acquire more and more. They also develop a strong resistance to disposing of their items, and can become very emotional at even the thought of getting rid of the property they have acquired.
Many people with compulsive hoarding disorders tend to feel like they are missing out if they don’t buy something, or feel compelled to acquire items that are offered for free, or at extremely low costs. Once acquired, compulsive hoarders will also express a need to keep or hold onto almost everything, even trash or disposable items.
Hoarding and Estate Planning
When people have such a strong emotional attachment to the property they own, it’s often extremely difficult for those people to contemplate transferring the property to others after they die. This difficulty can cause compulsive hoarders to shy away from estate planning. While this may not have any direct effect on the hoarder, it can greatly complicate the estate settlement process, and make things more difficult for that person’s family and loved ones.
If you or a family member has a compulsive hoarding problem, you may need to seek psychological counseling. Once you are able to more effectively deal with the property you have, and the emotional ties to it, you can then go on to creating an effective estate plan.