Sunday, August 15, 2010

Doctors debate whether hoarding a real mental illness


If the estimates are true, more than one million Canadians may be living the kind of life Marie Rose lived, until a two-metre high pile of clothes and clutter collapsed on top of her, suffocating her to death.

It took police and her husband 10 hours to find her body.

The Washington State woman's tragically bizarre death in 2006 was a severe case of hoarding — a condition that could soon be classified an official mental sickness.

"Hoarding disorder" is being recommended for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, an enormously influential catalogue used daily by doctors worldwide that is undergoing its first major revision in nearly 20 years.

Should hoarding make it into the manual, two to five per cent of the Canadian population could be labelled as having a mental illness, according to studies being used to justify creating the new diagnosis.

Proponents say the goal is to increase public awareness, help identify sufferers and stimulate research and the development of treatments that work..." More

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