Hoarding is characterised by two key behaviours: acquiring too many possessions and experiencing difficulty getting rid of them when they are no longer useful or needed. When these behaviours lead to enough clutter and disorganisation to disrupt or threaten a person’s health or safety, or they lead to significant distress, then hoarding becomes a “disorder.”
There are many reasons why people hoard, however the most frequent reason for hoarding is to avoid wasting things that might have value. Often people who hoard believe that an object may still be useable or of interest or value to someone. Thinking about whether to discard it leads them to feel guilty about wasting it. It is a common misconception that hoarders save only rubbish or things of no real value. In fact, most people who hoard save almost everything.
- Difficulty throwing things away, even when they are no longer needed
- The amount of clutter you have accumulated is interfering with your everyday life
- You are finding yourself using more rooms as storage space for all your possessions
Fear of Injections
Many people fear injections to some extent, but once that fear becomes persistent, excessive and unreasonable, then the fear becomes a phobia. Injection phobia is the fear and avoidance of receiving various types of injections, and/or of having a blood sample withdrawn through venipuncture (pricking a finger). This is a specific phobia and is extremely common yet not very well recognised. It is thought to affect between 3.5 % to 10% of the population.
The avoidance, anxiety or distress caused by needle phobia can significantly interfere with a person’s normal routine, occupational or academic functioning, and social activities or relationships.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, with up to 20% of the population suffering from it at some point in their life. The typical symptoms of IBS include either recurring diarrhoea or recurring constipation, and some patients also suffer from both diarrhoea and constipation at different times. Additional symptoms can include stomach pain (which is sometimes relieved by a bowel movement), bloating, nausea, and wind. IBS can wax and wane, and patients may experience a few weeks or even a few months of good health before the symptoms return.
IBS has come to be closely linked with both stress and anxiety. Even people who do not experience IBS can find themselves needing to go to the toilet when they are experiencing more stress,, nervousness or anxiousness.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be looked at in two parts. Firstly, obsessions that are repetitive, obtrusive, unwanted thoughts that are experienced and result in unreasonable fears and compulsions. Secondly, acts or rituals carried out in response to fears generated by obsessions. The classic OCD condition is that of compulsive hand washing in response to an irrational fear of germs/contamination. In addition to the more classic forms of OCD there are a number of more specific variations including Compulsive hoarding, Compulsive skin pickingand Trichotillomania.
Those who experience an OCD disorder feel less anxious once they have carried out a compulsion. It is possible to experience obsessive thoughts only and not have the desire to carry out a compulsion. Examples of compulsions are excessive cleaning, counting, checking, measuring, and repeating tasks or actions.
The common thread between most anxiety disorders is the panic attack. However, when panic attacks are experienced out of the blue, without an apparent trigger, this is classified as panic disorder.
People living with panic disorder often feel fine one minute and totally out of control and in the grips of a panic attack, the next. Panic attacks produce very real physical symptoms, from a rapid increase in heartbeat to a churning stomach sensation. These physical symptoms are naturally unpleasant and the accompanying psychological thoughts of terror can make a panic attack a very scary experience. For this reason, those experiencing panic attacks start to dread the next attack, and quickly enter into a cycle of living ‘in fear of fear’.
A phobia is an irrational fear of an object/situation that would not normally trouble most people. As the name suggests, simple/specific phobias are phobias that are about specific objects or situations. They can be quite distinct in nature and easily identified. For example, fear of spiders, fear of thunderstorms or fear of heights.
Any phobia may produce a state of panic when the sufferer is confronted with the phobic object/situation. A wide variety of physical symptoms are experienced such as nausea, increased heartbeat and jelly legs. For this reason, many people with simple or specific phobias enter into a pattern of avoidance which can vary enormously in severity from someone who would not want to touch a spider, to someone who cannot even look at a picture of a spider in magazines, and therefore has to vet everything they come into contact with. The latter demonstrates just how debilitating even a simple phobia can be.
Separation anxiety is a term used to explain a feeling of anxiety or stress when you are away from your parents/family/guardians, for example, when you are at school. You may find that you worry a lot when your parents or guardians are not with you or when you are away from your home. This will affect how you act towards other people when you are in certain places such as school. You may only feel comfortable and stop worrying when you are at home or with your parents/guardians. You may also feel afraid of going to sleep alone and when you do get to sleep, you may have nightmares about being apart from your parents/guardian. You could sometimes have a tummy ache or headaches when you are away from your parents and you may also create stories, like saying that you don’t feel well to avoid being away from your parents or your home
Social or public situations of any kind may induce this disorder which is often expressed as a fear of being the centre of attention, or of others noticing the sufferer’s anxious behaviour. Social phobia can also be classed as ‘specific social phobia,’ such as when there is social phobia only in specific situations like public speaking. The fear of behaving in an embarrassing or humiliating way can lead to a complete withdrawal from social contact, as well as avoidance of specific social situations such as public toilets, eating out etc. The physical manifestations of this phobia include blushing, shaking and sweating etc.
The word stress is usually used to describe the feelings that people experience when the demands made on them are greater than their ability to cope. At such times people can often feel overloaded, under tremendous pressure and very tense or emotional. Stress affects everyone, young and old and is a completely normal reaction that all human beings will experience from time to time when faced with situations that they feel under pressure in.
Stress can be looked at in terms of external and internal stressors. External stressors are sources of stress that we are aware of around us, these can include traumas, life experiences or simply daily hassles. Internal stressors are the sources of stress that are inside us and are often the most common sources of stress. They are the thoughts and feelings that pop into your head and cause you to feel unease, these can include unrealistic expectations, uncertainties, low self esteem and apprehensions.
Some symptoms of stress may include:
- Obesity and Over-eating
- Increased or excessive drinking of alcohol
- Loss of appetite
- If you smoke – you’ll smoke more
- Increased coffee consumption
- Excessive and continuing irritability with other people
- Substance Abuse
- You can’t make decisions, large or small.
- Unable to concentrate – (common symptom of stress)
- Increased and suppressed anger
- Not be able to cope with life, feeling out of control
- Jumping from one job to another without finishing things
- Excessive emotion & crying at small irritations
- Lack of interest in anything other than work
- Permanently tired even after sleep – (another very common symptom of stress)
- Decreased sex drive / libido
The main feature of trichotillomania is the recurrent pulling out of one’s own hair which results in noticeable hair loss. Sites of hair puling may include any region of the body in which hair may grow, the most common sites being the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes. Stressful circumstances frequently increase hair pulling behaviour, but increased hair puling also occurs in states of relaxation and distraction (e.g. reading a book or watching television). Having pulled out hair from any area of the body, the tension and anxiety that those who live with trichotillomania experience is relieve