Rising of Hoarding

rising of hoardingThe rising of hoarding disorder is something that is slowly becoming more known. Reality TV doesn’t need to do much to sensationalise hoarding. They showcase “goat paths” hacked between mounds of newspapers, greasy pizza cartons, bills, checks, mustard packets, broken gadgets, old T-shirts, and stained Tupperware. But many hoarders don’t see their behaviour as disordered, and psychology didn’t either—at first. In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the holy book of psychiatric diagnoses, was revised to list severe hoarding as a disorder in its own right. To meet the diagnostic criteria, someone must have acquired an unmanageable, even hazardous number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value—yet would cause them severe distress if discarded. Now, however, hoarding disorder has rightfully been recognised as a disorder. This means that help for hoarders is on a rise and we must continue to keep raising awareness.

Collyer’s Syndrome

At first, it was called Collyer’s syndrome. In honour of Homer and Langley Collyer, brothers who, between 1909 and 1947, slowly buried themselves in their family mansion in Harlem, filling it inch by inch. By midcentury, a mass production and a postwar economic boom therefore made it possible for people of modest means to acquire more and more objects, Collyer’s syndrome became more widespread. Psychologists decided that hoarding must be a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder: a repeated, ritualised action intended to ward off anxiety.

That categorisation held for decades. Even though clinical hoarding affects up to 6 percent of the world population, twice as many as OCD. They were more prone to depression than those with OCD. Had more difficulty making decisions. Were far less likely to be aware of their behaviour as a problem. Genetic linkage studies showed a different pattern of heritability than OCD, and brain scans showed a different pattern of activation. Drugs that were successful in treating OCD were not effective for hoarding.

Read on to find out more about what is causing the rise of hoarding…


Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at www.facebook.com/CloudsEndCIC for help.

To read more stories like this one, why not take a look at some of our other blog articles here.

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