There is evidence suggestingthat hoarding may be associated with symptoms of adhd. But until now there have been few studies examining that relationship in children, despite the fact hoarding symptoms commonly start in childhood.
In a new study, Florida researchers looked at the association between hoarding and ADHD in 99 children and adolescents diagnosed with adhd. allof the participants, who ranged in age from eight to 17 years, were patients in a general outpatient psychiatry clinic.
The participating children and adolescents completed three rating scales that assessed obsessive-compulsive behaviors, anxiety and depression,and overall self-esteem. Their parents completed two scales: one that assessed child-hoarding behaviors and theother that measured adhd symptoms and included a subscale to assess oppositional behavior.
In all, 29 of the participants (29%) reported clinical levels of hoarding. compared to the participants who did not have a problem with hoarding, the hoarding group exhibited higher scores on measures of inattention, hyperactivity/ impulsivity, and oppositional symptoms, the researchers said. The incidence of hoarding in the general population is estimated to be between 2% and 5% (Iervolino AC et al, Am J Psychiatry 2009;166(10):1156–1161; Timpano KR et al, J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(6):780– 786). Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (except hoarding) did not significantly predict hoarding.
The study was not without limitations, including the fact that researchers did not include clinician- rated measures for hoarding, symptom severity, diagnostic status, and neuropsychological functioning. The sample also consisted of primarily caucasian participants, making it unclear how the findings would generalize to other groups.
The link between hoarding and adhd symptoms may provide insight into the etiology of hoarding behaviors, the researchers said. The study results support the theory that information- processing deficits play a role in hoarding, they said, and also suggest that hoarding may emerge in childhood in association with executive function deficits, eg, difficulty with organization, sustained attention, and long-term planning. researchers speculated that children with adhd are unable to organize their environment and/or discard unneeded items leading to excessive clutter. early intervention among youth who hoard may provide an opportunity to break the pattern before symptoms are ingrained in their behavior, the researchers said (Hacker le et al, J Atten Disord; 2012, august 24; online ahead of print).
CCPR’s Take: This study not only suggests we should ask our hoarders about adhd and our adhd patients about hoarding, but also questions the concept that hoarding is a form of ocd.
PO Box 626, Newburyport MA 01950