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Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding) is extreme hoarding behaviour in humans. It involves the collection and/or failure to discard large numbers of objects even when their storage causes significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities such as moving around the house, cooking, cleaning, showering or sleeping. Hoarding rubbish may be referred to as syllogomania. A slang term for a compulsive hoarder is pack rat or packrat.
Additional recommended knowledge
The following (edited) case study is taken from a published account of compulsive hoarding:
It is not clear whether compulsive hoarding is a condition in itself, or simply a symptom of other related conditions. Several studies have reported a correlation between hoarding and the presence and / or severity of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Hoarding behaviour is also related to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). There may be an overlap with a condition known as impulse control disorder (ICD), particularly when compulsive hoarding is linked to compulsive buying or acquisition behaviour. However, some people displaying compulsive hoarding behaviour show no other signs of what is usually considered to be OCD, OCPD or ICD. Those diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often have hoarding tendencies.
Physiology and treatment
People who exhibit compulsive hoarding tend to absorb glucose into the brain differently than people who do not exhibit this behavior. The difference in cerebral metabolism of glucose is greatest in the rear and central parts of the brain.
A 2004 University of Iowa study found that damage to the frontal lobes of the brain can lead to poor judgement and emotional disturbances, while damage to the right mesial prefrontal cortex of the brain tends to cause compulsive hoarding. 
OCD disorders are treated with various antidepressants: from the TCA family clomipramine (brand name Anafranil); and from the SSRI family paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), sertraline (Zoloft), and citalopram (Celexa). With existing drug therapy OCD symptoms can be controlled, but not cured. Serveral of these compounds have been tested successfully in conjunction with OCD hoarding, but paroxetine in particular is indicated for treatment of compulsive hoarding. As always, care must be taken in the use of prescription medication. Antidepressant drugs have been linked with increased suicide rates. The U.S. FDA now requires a "black box" warning on many of these drugs. Paroxetine has also been associated with birth defects. Lawsuits have been filed against this drug. A 2006 study of this usage of the drug to treat compulsive hoarding was conducted by the University of California, San Diego.
OCD disorders are also treated with psychotherapy.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Compulsive_hoarding". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|