Compulsive hoarding or hoarding disorder is now considered a mental health issue. A person with this disorder had persistent difficulty parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items.

Hoarding is often characterized by cluttered homes. Countertops, sinks, stoves, desks, stairways and almost all other surfaces are usually piled with stuff. When there's no more room inside, the clutter may spread to the garage, vehicles, yard and other storage facilities.

People with hoarding disorder may not see it as a problem, making treatment challenging. However, intensive treatment can help people with hoarding disorder understand how their beliefs and behaviors can be changed so that they can live safer, more enjoyable lives.

Jaime Angelini, of the Mental Health Association of Atlantic County, discusses a free local support group that is helping people overcome hoarding disorder.