Dr. David Tolin, director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital, explains compulsive hoarding and the causes.
Is hoarding a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Right now, compulsive hoarding is considered by many researchers to be a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, for some people, compulsive hoarding may also be related to:
How common is compulsive hoarding? What are its features?
- Impulse control disorders (such as impulsive buying or stealing)
- Social anxiety
- Bipolar disorder
- Certain personality traits
- We don't know exactly. Some researchers have guessed that about half of 1 percent of the population suffers from compulsive hoarding, but the actual number may be much higher.
- People usually start hoarding during childhood or early adolescence, although the problem usually does not become severe until the person is an adult.
- Compulsive hoarding may run in families.
- Many people with compulsive hoarding do not recognize how bad the problem really is; often, it is a family member who is most bothered by the clutter.