Hoarding is a behavior where people or animals accumulate food or other items.
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.)One theory suggests that human hoarding may be related to animal hoarding behavior, but substantial evidence is lacking.
Civil unrest or threat of natural disaster may lead people to hoard foodstuffs, water, gasoline and other essentials that they believe, rightly or wrongly, 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.
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.
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).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. The disorder increases family strain, work impairment, and the risk of serious medical conditions.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition,the symptoms for hoarding disorder include:
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.
Hypochondriasis or hypochondria is a condition in which a person is excessively and unduly worried about having a serious illness. An old concept, the meaning of hypochondria has repeatedly changed. It has been claimed that this debilitating condition results from an inaccurate perception of the condition of body or mind despite the absence of an actual medical diagnosis. An individual with hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs become unduly alarmed about any physical or psychological symptoms they detect, no matter how minor the symptom may be, and are convinced that they or others have, or are about to be diagnosed with, a serious illness.
Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder characterized by excessive concern with orderliness, perfectionism, attention to details, mental and interpersonal control, and a need for control over one's environment, which interferes with flexibility, openness to experience, and efficiency, as well as interpersonal relationships. Workaholism and miserliness are also seen often in those with this personality disorder. Persons affected with this disorder may find it hard to relax, always feeling that time is running out for their activities, and that more effort is needed to achieve their goals. They may plan their activities down to the minute – a manifestation of the compulsive tendency to keep control over their environment and to dislike unpredictable events as elements beyond their control.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), occasionally still called dysmorphophobia, is a mental disorder characterized by the obsessive idea that some aspect of one's own body part or appearance is severely flawed and therefore warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix it. In BDD's delusional variant, the flaw is imagined. If the flaw is actual, its importance is severely exaggerated. Either way, thoughts about it are pervasive and intrusive, and may occupy several hours a day, causing severe distress and impairing one’s otherwise normal activities. The DSM-5 categorizes BDD in the obsessive–compulsive spectrum, and distinguishes it from anorexia nervosa.
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.
Kleptomania is the inability to resist the urge to steal items, usually for reasons other than personal use or financial gain. First described in 1816, kleptomania is classified in psychiatry as an impulse control disorder. Some of the main characteristics of the disorder suggest that kleptomania could be an obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder, but also share similarities with addictive and mood disorders.
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.
Impulse-control disorder (ICD) is a class of psychiatric disorders characterized by impulsivity – failure to resist a temptation, an urge, or an impulse; or having the inability to not speak on a thought. Many psychiatric disorders feature impulsivity, including substance-related disorders, behavioral addictions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, conduct disorder and some mood disorders.
Diogenes syndrome, also known as senile squalor syndrome, is a disorder characterized by extreme self-neglect, domestic squalor, social withdrawal, apathy, compulsive hoarding of garbage or animals, plus lack of shame. Sufferers may also display symptoms of catatonia.
The Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) is a test to rate the severity of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms.
Compulsive behavior is defined as performing an act persistently and repetitively without it necessarily leading to an actual reward or pleasure. Compulsive behaviors could be an attempt to make obsessions go away. The act is usually a small, restricted and repetitive behavior, yet not disturbing in a pathological way. Compulsive behaviors are a need to reduce apprehension caused by internal feelings a person wants to abstain from or control. A major cause of the compulsive behaviors is said to be obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). "The main idea of compulsive behavior is that the likely excessive activity is not connected to the purpose to which it appears directed." Furthermore, there are many different types of compulsive behaviors including shopping, hoarding, eating, gambling, trichotillomania and picking skin, checking, counting, washing, sex, and more. Also, there are cultural examples of compulsive behavior.
Exposure therapy is a technique in behavior therapy to treat anxiety disorders. Exposure therapy involves exposing the target patient to the anxiety source or its context without the intention to cause any danger. Doing so is thought to help them overcome their anxiety or distress. Procedurally, it is similar to the fear extinction paradigm developed studying laboratory rodents. Numerous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, and specific phobias.
Compulsive buying disorder (CBD), or oniomania, is characterized by an obsession with shopping and buying behavior that causes adverse consequences. According to Kellett and Bolton, compulsive buying "is experienced as an irresistible–uncontrollable urge, resulting in excessive, expensive and time-consuming retail activity [that is] typically prompted by negative affectivity" and results in "gross social, personal and/or financial difficulties". Most people with CBD meet the criteria for a personality disorder. Compulsive shopping is classified by ICD-10 (F63.8) as an "impulse control disorder, not otherwise classified." Several authors consider compulsive shopping rather as a variety of dependence disorder.
In psychology, impulsivity is a tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences. Impulsive actions are typically "poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unduly risky, or inappropriate to the situation that often result in undesirable consequences," which imperil long-term goals and strategies for success. Impulsivity can be classified as a multifactorial construct. A functional variety of impulsivity has also been suggested, which involves action without much forethought in appropriate situations that can and does result in desirable consequences. "When such actions have positive outcomes, they tend not to be seen as signs of impulsivity, but as indicators of boldness, quickness, spontaneity, courageousness, or unconventionality" Thus, the construct of impulsivity includes at least two independent components: first, acting without an appropriate amount of deliberation, which may or may not be functional; and second, choosing short-term gains over long-term ones.
Hoarders is an American reality television series that debuted on A&E. The show depicts the real-life struggles and treatment of people who suffer from compulsive hoarding disorder. The series premiered on August 17, 2009 and concluded its original run on February 4, 2013, after six seasons.
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which a person feels the need to perform certain routines repeatedly, or has certain thoughts repeatedly. The person is unable to control either the thoughts or activities for more than a short period of time. Common compulsions include hand washing, counting of things, and checking to see if a door is locked. Some may have difficulty throwing things out. These activities occur to such a degree that the person's daily life is negatively affected, often taking up more than an hour a day. Most adults realize that the behaviors do not make sense. The condition is associated with tics, anxiety disorder, and an increased risk of suicide.
David F. Tolin, Ph.D. is an American clinical psychologist.
The psychology of collecting is an area of study that seeks to understand the motivating factors why people devote great amounts of time, money, and energy making and maintaining collections.
In psychology, relationship obsessive–compulsive disorder (ROCD) is a form of obsessive–compulsive disorder focusing on close or intimate relationships. Such obsessions can become extremely distressing and debilitating, having negative impacts on relationships functioning.
Jonathan Stuart Abramowitz is an American clinical psychologist and Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). He is an authority on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders whose work is highly cited. He maintains a research lab and serves as the Director of the UNC-CH Anxiety and Stress Disorders Clinic. Abramowitz approaches the understanding and treatment of psychological problems from a cognitive-behavioral perspective.
The Dimensional Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (DOCS) is a 20-item self-report instrument that assesses the severity of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms along four empirically supported theme-based dimensions: (a) contamination, (b) responsibility for harm and mistakes, (c) incompleteness/symmetry, and (d) unacceptable (taboo) thoughts. The scale was developed in 2010 by a team of experts on OCD led by Jonathan Abramowitz, PhD to improve upon existing OCD measures and advance the assessment and understanding of OCD. The DOCS contains four subscales that have been shown to have good reliability, validity, diagnostic sensitivity, and sensitivity to treatment effects in a variety of settings cross-culturally and in different languages. As such, the DOCS meets the needs of clinicians and researchers who wish to measure current OCD symptoms or assess changes in symptoms over time.