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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Associated with Hoarding

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Associated with Hoarding


Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition characterized by attention difficulty, hyperactivity, disorganization, and impulsiveness. It typically begins in childhood, goes into adulthood, and may cause low self-esteem.

Hoarding disorder is a behavioral pattern in which the individual excessively accumulates items and has trouble discarding them, leading to clutter. In such a disorganized environment, hoarding patients tend to fall into anxiety and depression.

While most people have heard about ADHD, few have come across hoarding.

Interestingly, new research has discovered that people with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are also likely to exhibit hoarding behavior. About one in five ADHD patients show significant hoarding


These two disorders combined can severely impact the individual’s quality of life as they struggle with clutter and disorganization daily.

Before now, researchers have studied hoarding. But then, they only focused on older women who sought help as they had a tough time parting with things.

This new study focused on 88 adult ADHD patients from a Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust clinic.

Interestingly, 19% of the ADHD patients showed significant signs of hoarding. But that's not all. On average, these people were in their thirties, and the condition affected as many females as males.

As for the other 81%, the hoarding symptoms were more severe but did not significantly impact the patients' quality of life.

But you might ask, how do we know that hoarding is typically common among ADHD patients and not just anyone?

We know because there was a control group comprising 90 regular people living without ADHD.

The same questionnaire used to test the ADHD patients was also used for these non-ADHD adults taken from the general population.

Out of this control group, only 2% displayed clinically significant signs of hoarding.

To expand the control group even further, the researchers went online and asked 220 UK adults the same questions. Again, only 3% showed hoarding signs, a percentage pretty similar to that of the first control group.


Why Hoarding Disorder Matters

Hoarding is a less-talked-about mental disorder, but it can hurt a person's quality of life just as much as addiction. You see, hoarding goes beyond just accumulating possessions. Affected individuals find it mentally challenging to let go even when they no longer have any use for the items. Having filled their living space with so much clutter, their day-to-day functioning can be impaired, leading to frustration, poorer quality of life, and depression.

Dr. Morein, an Associate Professor in Psychology and part of the study, said: Overall, we found that people who had been diagnosed with ADHD had a higher likelihood of also having hoarding symptoms. This is important because it demonstrates that hoarding doesn't just affect people later in life, who are typically the focus of much of the research so far into Hoarding Disorder."


The Bottom Line

Since hoarding disorder can pose such a challenge, it's best practice for people with ADHD to be routinely checked for the condition. More so because these patients hardly ever willingly report it even though it's severely affecting their wellbeing.

On the other hand, it's not unlikely that people currently being treated for hoarding also have undiagnosed ADHD.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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