If the popularity of the cable television show Hoarders is any indication, we have a fascination with hoarding.
"We all love a good train wreck," says Mark Odom, clinical consultant to the Orange County (Calif.) Task Force on Hoarding. And, he says, many people — including psychiatrists — think hoarders are obsessive-compulsive. It's even listed that way in the bible of psychiatric disorders, the DSM IV.
But this isn't necessarily true, according to several studies presented at the annual conference of the American Society on Aging, which wrapped up this weekend in San Francisco. Hoarders are more likely to be depressed, anxious or have social phobias than to have obsessive-compulsive disorder.
And the problem worsens with age.
University of California, San Francisco researcher Monika Eckfield studied 22 older adults and found that changes in their social environment created boredom and isolation. So, for some, shopping became a socially-appropriate way to interact with the world. And then, they didn't get rid of anything after they brought purchases home..." More