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People with ADHD More Prone to Hoarding, Study Finds

The link between ADHD and Hoarding

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Hoarding Disorder share many similarities that at first glance, it may be hard to tell them apart, or if you have both disorders. People with ADHD find it hard to keep their homes organized, and there's usually clutter. People with Hoarding disorder excessively accumulate items that they're unwilling to discard, leading to clutter.

So, if you have ADHD and observed you've been having loads of clutter at home, how do you know if it's just ADHD symptoms and not hoarding disorder?

ADHD and hoarding: why hoarding is life-threatening  

ADHD and hoarding are highly comorbid. According to a UK study, 1 in 5 adults with ADHD also manifest hoarding symptoms

Hoarding is a less-talked-about mental disorder, but it can hurt a person's quality of life just as much as addiction. 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.

But how do you know it's really hoarding?

Symptoms of hoarding

Hoarding symtpoms include:

These can also be put as the 5 stages of hoarding:

  1. Acquisition: This is the initial stage where individuals start accumulating possessions. Some pick up things they find, believing they'll come in handy in the future.

  2. Clutter: As the accumulation continues, clutter starts to build up in the living space. 

  3. Disorganization: In this stage of hoarding, the clutter becomes overwhelming, and the individual finds it challenging to keep their living space organized.

  4. Impairment: As hoarding progresses, the clutter starts impairing the individual's daily life and functioning, such as cooking and hygeine. They also tend to fall into social isolation at this stage.

  5. Denial and Avoidance: People with hoarding disorder may deny or downplay the severity of the hoarding problem. The embarrassment may also make them resistant to receiving help to clean up their space.

Treating hoarding as part of ADHD support 

ADHD and hoarding combined can severely impact the individual’s quality of life as they struggle with clutter and disorganization daily. But they can be treated together. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be particularly helpful for treating ADHD and hoarding.

If everything in this blog relates to you, it's understandable that you'll feel embarrassed. It's not one of those disorders you're willing to tell people about or seek help with.

But HELP, that's precisely what you need at this point, to get a hold of your life again and let go of that shame.

If that is you, I can help. Come, let's talk.

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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