Hoarding as a psychiatric symptom. Academic Article uri icon


  • Collecting is a normal behavior in childhood and adulthood, while hoarding--the gathering, ordering, and disposal of articles without clear conscious motivation or control--is characterized as the pathologic counterpart of collecting. The literature describing the characteristics of collecting and the theories concerning its underlying mechanisms is presented along with eight case studies of adults who exhibited hoarding as a prominent symptom. It is apparent that hoarding is the final common pathway for a variety of processes: compulsive hoarding in obsessive compulsive disorder, fears of theft and poisoning in paranoid delusions, and the deterioration of habits in organic mental disorder.

publication date

  • January 1, 1990