Study: People With ADHD More Likely to Exhibit Hoarding Behaviors

Among the 81% of the remaining study group participants, the researchers found a larger hoarding severity, but not to a point that significantly impaired their lives versus the control group.

New research has demonstrated that almost 1 in 5 people with ADHD experience clinically significant levels of hoarding, which could be linked to a hidden population of adults struggling with hoarding and its consequences. Clinically significant hoarding involves excessive accumulation, difficulties discarding and excessive clutter, and can lead to daily distress, depression, and anxiety,.

The study recruited 88 participants from an adult ADHD clinic operated by the Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust; the study focused on differentiating from prior research that focused on older females who self-identify as hoarders and have looked for help later in life.

The results showed that 19% of this ADHD group displayed clinically significant hoarding symptoms and were on average 30 years of age, with an equal split between male and female genders. Among the 81% of the remaining study group participants, the researchers found a larger hoarding severity, but not to a point that significantly impaired their lives versus the control group.

Following the analysis of these findings, the researchers asked a closely-matched group of 90 adults without an ADHD diagnosis from the general population about ADHD symptoms and impulsivity, levels of hoarding and clutter, obsessive compulsive severity, perfectionism, depression and anxiety, and everyday functioning. These results showed only 2% of the control group exhibited clinically significant hoarding symptoms.

In a larger online sample of 220 UK adults, researchers replicated this analysis to see if similar patterns were found, and only 3% of adults from the general population without an ADHD diagnosis group exhibited hoarding symptoms.

"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,” said Sharon Morein, PhD, associate professor in Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), in a press release.

Morein added that the findings also indicate that hoarding disorder should be routinely assessed in individuals with ADHD, as they do not typically disclose associated difficulties, despite these symptoms potentially impairing their everyday lives.

"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,” Morein said in the press release.

REFERENCE

ADHD linked to hoarding behavior. Science Daily. February 25, 2022. Accessed March 2, 2022. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220225135652.htm

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