Hoarding Can Be a Deadly Business

Posted on September 7, 2013

If parting with possessions is a serious problem, you can now be officially diagnosed with hoarding disorder.

Stuff, stuff and more stuff. Many of us love to buy and keep things, even when the items are not useful. About 70 percent of children amass collections of favored objects, such as coins, dolls or baseball cards; many adults do the same. People often regard possessions as extensions of themselves and become attached to them accordingly.

Yet in rare cases, the habit of gathering and retaining things reaches unhealthy extremes, culminating in hoarding disorder, a condition that is poorly understood. Many laypeople believe that clinical hoarders are too lazy to discard their junk or that they enjoy living with it. Neither of those assumptions appears to be true. Moreover, most experts have long assumed that extreme hoarding is a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), even though most recent research suggests otherwise. Instead the ailment may stem from an exaggerated version of a basically adaptive tendency to accumulate materials that are important to us.

In recognition of these differences, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual (DSM-5), published this past May, for the first time included pathological hoarding as a distinct condition.

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Source material from Scientific American