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:  
  • Impulse control disorders (such as impulsive buying or stealing)
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Certain personality traits
How common is compulsive hoarding? What are its features?
  • 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.


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