Ask Amy: Pandemic experience has triggered food hoarding
Can you help?
Dear Worried: You are describing a hoarding disorder. This can be brought on by trauma and triggered by stress.
People who have survived extreme food shortages will sometimes emerge from the experience with the impulse to hoard food. Your early experiences of the pandemic (experiencing some shortages and fearing that there would be more) has triggered this in you.
Hoarding disorders are linked to anxiety and can be treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy, which focuses on recognizing the triggers, the feelings, and the behavior you seek to change.
Many people are experiencing mental health challenges as the result of the pandemic, and I give you so much credit for recognizing that your behavior presents an extreme problem for you, and for being brave in your inquiry.
I believe your question will help a lot of people who are also struggling.
I urge you to take the next very brave step to seek professional help.
You can recover from this, emerge into the world, and enjoy your experiences and relationships.
There are many ways to find a therapist. I like the database offered by psychologytoday.com. You can search based on location and specialty and read through profiles of therapists.