Hoarding

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A Thule culture food cache near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada Thule food cache 01.JPG
A Thule culture food cache near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada

Hoarding is a behavior where people or animals accumulate food or other items.

Contents

Animal behavior

Hoarding and caching are common in many bird species as well as in rodents. Most animal caches are of food. However, some birds will also stingily collect other items, especially if the birds are pets. Magpies are infamous for hoarding items such as money and jewelry. (Contrary to popular belief, research suggests magpies are no more attracted to shiny things than other kinds of items.) [1] One theory suggests that human hoarding may be related to animal hoarding behavior, but substantial evidence is lacking. [2]

Human hoarding

An anti-hoarding, pro-rationing poster from the United States in World War II Rationing Means a Fair Share for All of Us.jpg
An anti-hoarding, pro-rationing poster from the United States in World War II

Civil unrest or threat of natural disaster may lead people to hoard foodstuffs, water, gasoline and other essentials that they believe will soon be in short supply. Survivalists, also known as preppers, often stockpile large supplies of these items in anticipation of a large-scale disaster event. [3] [4]

Anxiety and hoarding

Apartment of a person with compulsive hoarding Compulsive hoarding Apartment.jpg
Apartment of a person with compulsive hoarding

Individuals who meet diagnostic criteria for hoarding disorder experience feelings of anxiety or discomfort about discarding possessions they do not need. This discomfort arises from an emotional attachment to possessions and a strong belief that their possessions will be needed in the future. Possessions will take on a sentimental value that outweighs their functional value. This is no different from someone without hoarding disorder; the difference lies in the strength of this sentimental value and in how many items take on a sentimental value. Discarding can feel like they are throwing away a part of themselves. [5]

In severe cases, a house may become a fire hazard (due to blocked exits and stacked papers) or a health hazard (due to vermin infestation, excreta and detritus from excessive pets, hoarded food and garbage or the risk of stacks of items collapsing on the occupants and blocking exit routes). [6] Hoarding affects more than just the person who has the strong attachment to possessions, as other people living in the home and neighbours can be affected by the clutter. Individuals with hoarding disorder have a quality of life as poor as those diagnosed with schizophrenia. [7] The disorder increases family strain, [8] work impairment, [9] and the risk of serious medical conditions. [10]

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, [11] the symptoms for hoarding disorder include:

A. Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.
B. This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items and to distress associated with discarding them.
C. The difficulty discarding possessions results in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromises their intended use. If living areas are uncluttered, it is only because of the interventions of third parties (e.g., family members, cleaners, authorities).
D. The hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (including maintaining a safe environment for self and others).
E. The hoarding is not attributable to another medical condition (e.g., brain injury, cerebrovascular disease, Prader-Willi syndrome).
F. The hoarding is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorders (e.g., obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder, decreased energy in major depressive disorder, delusions in schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, cognitive deficits in major neurocognitive disorder, restricted interests in autism spectrum disorder).

Treatment

There are no medications currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating the symptoms of hoarding. Some medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can be used off-label for individuals diagnosed with hoarding disorder.

The primary treatment for hoarding disorder is individual psychotherapy. In particular, cognitive behavior therapy is regarded as the gold standard for treating the disorder. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder Personality disorder involving orderliness

Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a cluster C personality disorder marked by an excessive need for orderliness, neatness, and perfectionism. Symptoms are usually present by the time a person reaches adulthood, and are visible in a variety of situations.

Body dysmorphic disorder Mental disorder

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Compulsive hoarding Behavioral pattern characterized by compulsive acquisition and storing of goods

Compulsive hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a behavioral pattern characterized by excessive acquisition of and an 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, workplace impairment, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members. When clinically significant enough to impair functioning, hoarding can prevent typical uses of space, enough so that it can limit activities such as cooking, cleaning, moving through the house, and sleeping. It can also put the individual and others at risk of fires, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about events or activities. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, and sufferers are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friendship problems, interpersonal relationship problems, or work difficulties. Symptoms may include excessive worry, restlessness, trouble sleeping, feeling tired, irritability, sweating, and trembling.

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Compulsive behavior performing an act persistently and repetitively without it necessarily leading to an actual reward or pleasure

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Effects of stress on memory

The effects of stress on memory include interference with a person's capacity to encode memory and the ability to retrieve information. During times of stress, the body reacts by secreting stress hormones into the bloodstream. Stress can cause acute and chronic changes in certain brain areas which can cause long-term damage. Over-secretion of stress hormones most frequently impairs long-term delayed recall memory, but can enhance short-term, immediate recall memory. This enhancement is particularly relative in emotional memory. In particular, the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and the amygdala are affected. One class of stress hormone responsible for negatively affecting long-term, delayed recall memory is the glucocorticoids (GCs), the most notable of which is cortisol. Glucocorticoids facilitate and impair the actions of stress in the brain memory process. Cortisol is a known biomarker for stress. Under normal circumstances, the hippocampus regulates the production of cortisol through negative feedback because it has many receptors that are sensitive to these stress hormones. However, an excess of cortisol can impair the ability of the hippocampus to both encode and recall memories. These stress hormones are also hindering the hippocampus from receiving enough energy by diverting glucose levels to surrounding muscles.

David F. Tolin, Ph.D. is an American clinical psychologist.

Psychology of collecting

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Bunmi O. Olatunji is an American psychiatrist who is Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Social Sciences at Vanderbilt University. He is Director of the Emotion and Anxiety Research Laboratory and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the Vanderbilt University Graduate School. Olatunji studies the psychopathology of obsessive–compulsive disorder.

References

  1. Harrabin, Roger (2014-08-16). "Magpies 'don't steal shiny objects'" . Retrieved 2019-05-29.
  2. Andrews-Mcclymont, Jennifer G.; Lilienfeld, Scott O.; Duke, Marshall P. (2013). "Evaluating an animal model of compulsive hoarding in humans". Review of General Psychology. 17 (4): 399–419. doi:10.1037/a0032261.
  3. Preppers, once mocked, say they were ready for coronavirus crisis
  4. Doomsday preppers' advice on how to prepare for the coronavirus
  5. Frost, Randy (1995). "A Cognitive-Behavioral Model of Compulsive Hoarding". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 34 (4): 341–350. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(95)00071-2.
  6. "Hoarding", Mayo Clinic, 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-19.
  7. Saxena, Sanjaya; Ayers, Catherine R.; Maidment, Karron M.; Vapnik, Tanya; Wetherell, Julie L.; Bystritsky, Alexander (2011). "Quality of life and functional impairment in compulsive hoarding". Journal of Psychiatric Research. 45 (4): 475–480. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.08.007. PMC   3009837 . PMID   20822778.
  8. Tolin, David F.; Frost, Randy O.; Steketee, Gail; Fitch, Kristin E. (2008). "Family burden of compulsive hoarding: Results of an internet survey". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 46 (3): 334–344. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2007.12.008. PMC   3018822 . PMID   18275935.
  9. Mathes, Brittany M.; Henry, Alastair; Schmidt, Norman B.; Norberg, Melissa M. (2018). "Hoarding symptoms and workplace impairment". British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 58 (3): 342–356. doi:10.1111/bjc.12212. PMID   30548281.
  10. Tolin, David F.; Frost, Randy O.; Steketee, Gail; Gray, Krista D.; Fitch, Kristin E. (2008). "The economic and social burden of compulsive hoarding". Psychiatry Research. 160 (2): 200–211. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2007.08.008. PMC   3018686 . PMID   18597855.
  11. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. October 3, 2013.
  12. Gilliam, Christina M.; Norberg, Melissa M.; Villavicencio, Anna; Morrison, Samantha; Hannan, Scott E.; Tolin, David F. (2011). "Group cognitive-behavioral therapy for hoarding disorder: An open trial". Behaviour Research and Therapy. 49 (11): 802–807. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2011.08.008. PMID   21925643.

Further reading