Upon publication of the DSM-5, there were a lot of ignorant people laughing at the “new” disorder “hoarding,” and giving it as an example of how the DSM-5 encourages over-diagnosis of “normal” individuals. Such people do not understand the dire nature of this disorder. An individual with hoarding disorder finds it extremely distressful to discard objects, regardless of their actual value. These objects fill up their living spaces, leading to impairment of the individual’s ability to live a healthy, functional life.
Hoarding has recently reached the popular eye due to TV shows like A&E’s Hoarders or TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive. I haven’t watched either of these shows, so I don’t know if they are a good representative of the dangers of hoarding. But I can give examples of such dangers:
To go along with my Adrian Monk theme in my OCD post, Adrian’s brother Ambrose Monk is an extremely agoraphobic hoarder. In the episode Mr. Monk and the Three Pies, Ambrose’s house is set on fire, and he is unable to exit the house – partly due to the lack of safe pathways through his piles of newspapers.
If you like real-life examples, I have an acquaintance with hoarding disorder. She fell in her home and was unable to get up due to the huge piles of junk surrounding her. She lay there three days before someone found her. Luckily, she was holding a jug of juice when she fell, so she survived surprisingly well during this time.
This is a series of posts summarizing what I’m learning in my Abnormal Psychology course. Much of the information provided comes from reading my James N. Butcher’s textbook Abnormal Psychology. To read the other posts, follow these links:
The Definition of Abnormal
A History of Abnormal Psychology
Abnormal Psychology in Contemporary Society
Contemporary Viewpoints on Treating Mental Illness – Biology
Contemporary Viewpoints on Treating Mental Illness – Psychology
Frontline: New Asylums
Brave New Films: This is Crazy
Clinical Mental Health Diagnosis: Biological Assessment
Clinical Mental Health Diagnosis: Psychological Assessment
Does the DSM Encourage Overmedication?
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome – The Basics
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Hoarding and Body Dysmorphic Disorders
Depression – an Overview
Personality Disorders – Clusters and Dimensions
Personality Disorders – Cluster A
Personality Disorders – Cluster B
Personality Disorders – Cluster C
Biological Effects of Stress on Your Body
Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
Borderline Personality Disorder
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Gender Dysphoria – Homosexuality and Transgender
Bipolar Disorder – The Basics
Suicide – An Overview