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What is hoarding?

Hoarding is the excessive collection and retention of any material to the point that living space is sufficiently cluttered to preclude activities for what they are designed for.

Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.

Compulsive hoarding is often considered a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) because between 18 and 42 % of people with OCD experience some compulsion to hoard.

However, compulsive hoarding can also affect people who don’t have OCD. Hoarding is now considered a standalone mental health disorder and is included in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) 2013.

Hoarding can also be a symptom of other medical disorders. Hoarding Disorder is distinct from the act of collecting and is also different from people whose property is generally cluttered or messy. It is not simply a lifestyle choice.

Types of hoarding

There are typically 3 types of hoarding:

Inanimate objects

This is the most common. This could consist of one type of object or collection of a mixture of objects, such as old clothes, newspapers, food, containers or papers.

Animal hoarding

This is on the increase and often accompanied with the inability to provide minimal standards of care. The hoarder is unable to recognise that the animals are at risk because they feel they are saving them. The homes of animal hoarders are often eventually destroyed by the accumulation of animal faeces and infestation by insects.

Data hoarding

This is a relatively new phenomenon. It could present with the storage of data collection equipment such as computers, electronic storage devices or paper. A need to store copies of emails, and other information in an electronic format.

Hoarding referrals

We accept referrals from members of the public and partner agencies where there are concerns that someone’s hoarding is having a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing and can also signpost for additional support and guidance.

Officers are trained to support and assist to ensure the safety of a property and deal with matters as discreetly and empathetically as can be reasonably expected.

Contact us

If you would like to make a referral or discuss concerns relating to Hoarding or similar concerns please contact us: