In its most severe forms compulsive hoarding can lead to fires, rat and cockroach infestations, broken bones from tripping over clutter and other health and safety hazards. A review of studies into hoarding found that about a quarter of people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) were hoarders. Those people with OCD who also hoarded were more impaired than non-hoarders and had ordering compulsions as well as contamination, sexual, religious, symmetry and somatic (to do with the body) obsessions. Hoarders were also more likely to suffer from social phobia, substance abuse and bipolar disorder. Male hoarders had higher levels of social phobia than non-hoarders whereas female hoarders had higher rates of bipolar disorder, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, panic disorder, social phobia and binge-eating. Paroxetine (an anti-depressant) has been shown to be effective in improving the mental health of people who hoard while Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has also proved effective.
Kaplan, Aline - Hoarding : studies characterize phenotype, demonstrate treatment efficacy Psychiatric Times May 2007, 24(6), 1