Judith Kolberg is accustomed to walking into cluttered homes. As a professional organizer, the Decatur, Ga., woman helps clients straighten messy closets, tame stacks of paperwork, and bring order to their chaos.
In the past 25 years, she’s also entered the homes of about a dozen people who could be diagnosed as hoarders -- and countless others who came close.
“It’s a pretty sensory experience, let me put it that way. There’s obviously the assault on your eyes of the quantity of the clutter, then...
"The presence of anxiety, of a depressive mood or of a conflict within the mind, does not stamp any individual as having a psychological problem because, as a matter of fact, these qualities are indigenous to the species," says Charles Goodstein, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at NYU Medical Center in New York City.
But if living on the "last straw" has more or less become your way of life, experts say there's something on your mind that is crying out for your attention.
"The key is how often you are feeling this sense of distress, how bad it gets, and how long it lasts; that is what can help determine the seriousness of your situation," says Abby Aronowitz, PhD, the director of SelfHelpDirectives.com.
To help you gain some important perspective on the problems in your life, three experts helped WebMD put together this list of symptoms you should not ignore. If any of these signs seem true for you, speak to your family doctor and request a complete physical. If everything checks out OK, ask your doctor if you might benefit from professional counseling.