Compulsive Hoarding

Compulsive hoarding (or pathological collecting) is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by the excessive acquisition of and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment. Compulsive hoarding behavior has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members. When clinically significant enough to impair functioning, hoarding can prevent typical uses of space so as to limit activities such as cooking, cleaning, moving through the house, and sleeping. It can also be dangerous if it puts the individual or others at risk for fire, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns.

According to Mayo Clinic, "Hoarding isn't yet considered an official, distinct disorder," and many people who hoard don't have (other) OCD-related symptoms. In fact the term, "compulsive hoarding" is the result of older diagnostic schemes that put hoarding fully within obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and may soon become obsolete. Researchers have only recently begun to study hoarding. It is not clear whether "compulsive" hoarding is a separate, isolated disorder, or rather a symptom of another condition, such as OCD. Prevalence rates have been estimated at 2-5% in adults, and is greater in older adults than younger groups, in men versus women, and is inversely related to household income. Hoarding appears to be more common in people with psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Other factors often associated with hoarding include alcohol dependence as well as paranoid, schizotypal, and avoidant traits. Family histories show strong positive correlations.

In 2008 a study was conducted to determine if there is a significant link between hoarding and interference in occupational and social functioning. Hoarding behavior is often so severe because of poor insight of the hoarding patients, meaning the understanding of a hoarding patient that their behaviors are a problem. Without insight into what the problem is, it is much harder for behavioral therapy to be the key to the successful treatment of compulsive hoarders. The results found that hoarders were significantly less likely to see a problem in a hoarding situation than a friend or a relative might. This is independent of OCD symptoms as patients with OCD are often very aware of their disorder.

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Famous quotes containing the word compulsive:

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    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)