Hoarding Disorder IS a Mental Illness
Hoarding disorder (HD) is a mental illness recognized worldwide. Your parents suffer from an illness they did not chose to inflict upon themselves, or upon you, any more than a parent suffering from alcoholism, or any other psychiatric or medical condition chooses to get sick.
Hoarding disorder is not caused by laziness, sloppiness, or indifference although many of the associated behaviors can be extremely painful and difficult for loved ones, and particularly for children to cope with. COHPs often feel like their parents care about stuff more than them, but it is more likely that your parent has difficulty relating and lacks insight into this disorder and its symptoms, as well as the impact it has on you. This group exists to support you in these challenges.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition (DSM-5, American Psychiatric Association, 2013) defines Hoarding Disorder (HD) as follows:
- Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.
- This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items and to distress associated with discarding them.
- The difficulty discarding possessions results in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromises their intended use. If living areas are uncluttered, it is only because of the interventions of third parties (e.g., family members, cleaners, authorities).
- The hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (including maintaining a safe environment for self and others).
- The hoarding is not attributable to another medical condition (e.g., brain injury, cerebrovascular disease, Prader-Willi syndrome).
- The hoarding is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (e.g., obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder, decreased energy in major depressive disorder, delusions in schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, cognitive deficits in major neurocognitive disorder, restricted interests in autism spectrum disorder).
Some of our favorite resources to help MYCOHPs cope can be found here: