Why do people hoard and when does hoarding require medical intervention?

People hoard for a variety of reasons, and not all of them are caused by mental illness.
People hoard for a variety of reasons, and not all of them are caused by mental illness.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - The challenges faced by caregivers and social service providers when dealing with hoarding behaviour was recently highlighted by researchers from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in a new study. It is estimated that one in 50 Singaporeans will exhibit hoarding behaviour in their lifetimes. The Sunday Times spoke to Dr Kelvin Ng, consultant, IMH, to understand hoarding behaviour.

A: Most people have difficulties in parting with valuable possessions, but a person with hoarding behaviour would have difficulties parting with items that are not useful, and would experience emotional distress such as anxiety attacks when asked to discard them.

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