Encyclopedia of Aging and Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Sana JD Loue, Martha Sajatovic


  • Maria Lourdes Gonzales
  • Teresa Piotrowicz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-33754-8_221

Compulsive hoarding syndrome is one of the symptom dimensions of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Hoarding and saving behaviors can also occur in nonclinical populations and with other neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, dementia, eating disorders, mental retardation, and autism. The causes of compulsive hoarding are not known; however, symptoms show a recessive inheritance pattern. There appears to be biological abnormalities in the central nervous system (CNS) among individuals with hoarding. Using positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging, compulsive hoarders have been found to have significantly lower glucose metabolism in specific parts of the brain (e.g., anterior and posterior cingulated gyrus, thalamus, and occipital cortex).

Individuals with compulsive hoarding may exhibit the following characteristics: The individual acquires and fails to discard a large number of possessions that appear useless or of limited value. Clutter prevents the individuals...

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Suggested Readings

  1. Feusner J, Saxena S (2005) Unclutter lives and homes by breaking anxiety's grip. Curr Psychiatry 4(3):13–24Google Scholar
  2. Hwang JP, Tsai SJ, Yang CH, Liu KM, Lirng JF (1998) Hoarding behavior in dementia. A preliminary report. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 6:285–289PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Saxena S, Brody AL, Maidment KM, Smith EC, Zohrabi N, Katz E, Baker SK, Jr Baxter LR (2004) Cerebral glucose metabolism in obsessive–compulsive hoarding. Am J Psychiatry 161:1038–1048PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Saxena S, Maidment, K (2004) Treatment of compulsive hoarding. J Clin Psychology. 60(11):1143–1154CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Lourdes Gonzales
  • Teresa Piotrowicz

There are no affiliations available