The overall prevalence of hoarding disorder is high for people over 60 years old and people with other psychiatric diagnoses, especially anxiety and depression.
Previous research into Hoarding Disorder has mainly focused on older females who self-identify as hoarders and have sought help later in life.
This new study recruited 88 participants from an adult ADHD clinic run by the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
The study found that 19% of this ADHD group displayed clinically significant hoarding symptoms, were on average in their 30s, and there was an equal gender split.
Amongst the remaining 81%, the researchers found greater hoarding severity, but not to a degree that significantly impaired their lives, compared to the study’s control group.
Researchers asked the same questions, about ADHD symptoms and impulsivity, levels of hoarding and clutter, obsessive-compulsive severity, perfectionism, depression and anxiety, and everyday function, on a closely-matched group of 90 adults from the general population, without an ADHD diagnosis, and found only 2% of this control group exhibited clinically significant hoarding symptoms.
Then replicated this with a larger online sample of 220 UK adults to see if similar patterns were found, and similarly, only 3% of this group exhibited symptoms.
Dr. Morein, Associate Professor in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: “Hoarding Disorder is much more than simply collecting too many possessions. People with diagnosed Hoarding Disorder have filled their living areas with so many items and clutter that it impacts their day-to-day functioning leading to a poorer quality of life, anxiety, and depression”.
These findings also indicate that Hoarding Disorder should be routinely assessed in individuals with ADHD, as they do not typically disclose associated difficulties despite these potentially impairing their everyday lives.
Likewise, many people who are currently being treated for Hoarding Disorder might also have undiagnosed ADHD.
Greater awareness amongst clinicians and people with ADHD about the link between ADHD and hoarding could also lead to more effective long-term management, as hoarding often gradually worsens with time.