Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 297–303

Recent advances in compulsive hoarding


    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California at San Diego

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-008-0048-8

Cite this article as:
Saxena, S. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2008) 10: 297. doi:10.1007/s11920-008-0048-8


Compulsive hoarding is a common and often disabling neuropsychiatric disorder. This article reviews the conceptualization, phenomenology, diagnosis, etiology, neurobiology, and treatment of compulsive hoarding. Compulsive hoarding is part of a discrete clinical syndrome that includes difficulty discarding, urges to save, excessive acquisition, indecisiveness, perfectionism, procrastination, disorganization, and avoidance. It was thought to be part of obsessive-compulsive disorder or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, but recent evidence indicates that it should be classified as a separate disorder with its own diagnostic criteria. Compulsive hoarding is a genetically discrete, strongly heritable phenotype. Neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies are elucidating its neurobiology, implicating dysfunction of ventral and medial prefrontal cortical areas that mediate decision-making, attention, and emotional regulation. Effective treatments include pharmacotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. More research will be required to determine the prevalence, etiology, and pathophysiology of compulsive hoarding and to develop better treatments

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