image of barnstable county courthouse

New Study Looking to Detect and Treat Hoarding Disorder in Childhood

Hoarding is a debilitating disorder that can have a devastating impact on those with the condition, their families and the community.

Deakin University psychology researchers are looking to better understand how this disorder develops in childhood, and its connection with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in the hope of identifying markers to identify and treat the disorder early. The researchers are calling on parents with children aged 8—17 years to help with this nation-wide study.

Hoarding is a mental disorder whereby people have difficulty discarding items due to distress or urges to save items and cluttered living spaces resulting in significant distress and impairment. Of those diagnosed with hoarding disorder it is believed that 28 percent also have ADHD, much higher than the five percent rate in the general population.

Previous research has shown that hoarding begins in childhood but is frequently not noticed until adulthood. Therefore children with ADHD who go on to develop hoarding disorder may have symptoms that remain undiagnosed and not treated until adulthood. The Deakin study is aimed at revealing these early symptoms so that treatment can begin before the disorder becomes problematic.