ADHD News & Research

Study: 1 in 5 Adults with ADHD Exhibit Hoarding Symptoms

About 20% of adults with ADHD exhibit clinically significant hoarding symptoms, according to a recent U.K. study that found symptoms of inattention are also a risk factor for hoarding behaviors.

March 7, 2022

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) is associated with elevated levels of hoarding, according to a recent U.K. study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. The study found that as many as one in five adults with ADHD exhibit clinically significant hoarding symptoms.1

Researchers, citing a growing body of literature on the link between hoarding disorder and symptoms of inattention, evaluated hoarding disorder symptoms in 88 patients from an adult ADHD clinic. They compared those results to those of healthy controls assessed on the same measures. Hoarding disorder is defined as a persistent difficulty parting with possessions due to a perceived need to keep them; attempts to “clear the clutter” often cause distress, safety concerns, and relationship problems.

Researchers found that about 20% of the ADHD group showed significant hoarding symptoms compared to just 2% of the control group. In addition, individuals in this portion of the ADHD group were in their 30s, on average, and approximately half were male – important findings, given that most research on hoarding disorder comprises studies of predominantly older females.

The remaining 80% of the ADHD group also showed greater hoarding severity compared to controls. Symptoms of inattention, in particular, appear to predict hoarding behaviors and severity in participants with or without ADHD.

Given these findings, the researchers recommend that clinicians routinely assess individuals with ADHD for hoarding disorder, especially since patients with hoarding behaviors typically do not disclose their difficulties.

Future research on hoarding disorder, according to the authors, should also investigate a younger sample size that includes a more equal number of males and females.

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1 Morein-Zamir, S., Kasese, M. et al (2022). Elevated levels of hoarding in ADHD: A special link with inattention. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 145, 167-174.