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8 Findings You May Not Have Known About Someone With Hoarding Disorder

8 Findings You May Not Have Known About Someone With Hoarding Disorder

I recently completed a home study on Hoarding Disorder presented by Dr. Scott Hannan, a psychologist at Hartford Hospital in CT. He works closely with Dr. David Tolin, a well-known researcher in the field of hoarding disorder, and is experienced in diagnosing and treating this mental illness. 


Many of us know the basic tenets of hoarding disorder:

  1. Difficulty discarding or parting with possessions regardless of their perceived value 
  2. Strong urges to save items and distress associated with discarding 
  3. Accumulation of a large number of possessions that make rooms in the home unable to be used for their intended purpose


But did you know that there's also impairment in areas including social and occupational functioning?


Dr. Hannan referenced a study in his presentation (Tolin, et al. 2007) in which diagnostic criteria for hoarding is also associated with many other factors. In the study, those diagnosed with hoarding disorder were also found to have the following:

  • 6.7% on disability
  • 78% reported obesity 
  • 45% in mental health treatment 
  • 8% had been evicted or threatened with eviction 
  • 0.1% had a child or elder removed from the home 
  • 5.5% lost jobs due to hoarding 
  • 75% reported losing things at work
  • 22% had not paid taxes at least once in the last 5 years


It's clear that hoarding isn't just all about the stuff. There are so many other factors at play with individuals diagnosed with this disorder. Mental health treaters, professional organizers, and family members alike need to keep these clinically significant factors in mind as additional problems associated with hoarding behavior. 


Hoarding is a complex mental illness that affects individuals on a number of levels. It's important when working with this population to have the proper knowledge and training to be able to handle the many facets of this disorder. It takes a combined effort of treating the head and the home to begin to recover from this mental illness. 


The book Buried in Treasures is great for the lay person wanting to learn more about hoarding and what to do about it. The book The Hoarding Handbook is a helpful resource for human service professionals providing step-by-step ways that treaters can help.



Categories: Mental Health / Hoarding


  • Great post, thank you for the information. I would have though that disability would be a higher percentage/statistic. Interesting... most of the categories make sense, but seeing them all laid out like that is very powerful.
    9/13/2017 8:46:19 PM Reply
    • @Lisa Montanaro: Yes, when you see all the factors compiled in a list like this, it really makes you realize how impactful this disorder is. Thanks for chiming in, Lisa!
      9/16/2017 8:27:42 AM Reply
  • Wow, these stats are interesting but not surprising. Thanks for sharing.
    9/11/2017 7:41:46 AM Reply
    • @Sabrina Quairoli: Interesting indeed! Thanks for commenting, Sabrina.
      9/16/2017 8:26:54 AM Reply
  • Wow, those are interesting. The finding about unpaid taxes could lead to a whole other group of problems. It isn't surprising, just not something we might think of. Team support is so important with hoarding!
    9/8/2017 10:29:03 AM Reply
    • @Seana Turner: I found the point about the taxes something to note as well. Collaboration is key with this population!
      9/8/2017 1:41:27 PM Reply

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