Compulsive Hoarding

Hoarding is defined as “the acquisition of, and inability to, discard worthless items even though they appear (to others) to have no value.” (Frost & Gross 1993)

Clinical criteria:

The acquisition of, and failure to, discard a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value. Living or work spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed. Significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding behavior.

Compulsive Hoarding: The Syndrome

Hoarding is part of a discrete clinical syndrome that also includes: Indecisiveness, perfectionism, difficulty in organizing tasks, avoidance. The prevalence of compulsive hoarding syndrome in the USA is estimated to be 600,000 to 1.2 million. This is a conservative estimate since hoarding behaviors are often kept in secret due to shame and embarrassment of disclosing.

Resources

Freecycle

Clutterer Conference, February 29, 2008 document type Adobe Acrobat PDF format

Obsessive Compulsive Foundation