What to Read Next

Hoarding to be labelled an illness in DSM; manual used by Canadian doctors

Nadine Bells
Shine On
May 10, 2012

Hoarding. It's good for cable-TV ratings. And, for the first time in history, it's being named a mental disorder.

In the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — an American reference book used as a the standard by Canadian psychiatrists — hoarding is highly likely to be listed as an official mental disorder, the American Psychiatric Association states.

It's estimated that two to five per cent of Americans suffer from hoarding. There are no comparable figures for Canada yet, although in 2010 it was estimated that more than one million Canadians could be named hoarders, with stats showing that the prevalence of hoarding tends to increase with age, CBC News reports.

Also see: 'Social jetlag' sleep loss can cause unhealthy drinking, eating habits

Hoarding isn't just a too-much-clutter issue. The diagnosis will address those whose living spaces are barely liveable as they find it near-impossible to discard of possessions, regardless of their actual value.

The APA's proposed diagnosis cites that hoarding's symptoms "result in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromise their intended use."

The mental-disorder diagnosis helps differentiate hoarding from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) — and encourages treatment, like cognitive behaviour therapy, for those who suffer it.

Toronto researcher Martin Antony, chair of the psychology department at Ryerson University, recently launched the first study examining the link between hoarders and their loved ones.

"It's referred to as accommodation — the tendency for family members to do things that ultimately make it easier for hoarders to continue hoarding," Antony tells the CBC.

Hoarding doesn't just create an unwelcoming living environment. Hoarders suffer the financial blows that come with impulse shopping, and have higher-than-average divorce rates and antisocial tendencies due to the embarrassment of their homes.

Also see: The supermom myth? Dads more stressed by work-life balance than moms

The Globe and Mail's Adriana Barton points out that treating "pathological pack rats" effectively also addresses a bigger issue: health and safety.

"The sheer volume and weight of flammable materials pose a fire hazard and the risk of building collapse. The infamous Collyer brothers, for example, starved to death in their New York apartment after they were buried alive by an avalanche of worthless junk," she writes.

Only time will tell if the mental-disorder classification will inspire more treatment-seeking from hoarders and their families.

Not sure if your clutter problem points to something more serious? A Hoarding Scale Self-Report is currently being tested to help diagnose the disorder.

Watch the video below about how your daily commute might be harming your health.

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.

Heartburn Facts

Read About Heartburn Facts From TUMS. Check Out Heartburn History, Who Gets Heartburn and More.

Stop Paying Too Much For Your Prescriptions.

Drug prices vary wildly between pharmacies. GoodRx finds the lowest prices and discounts. Compare prices, print free coupons & save up to 80%.

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Attn Home Owners Who Never Miss a Payment.

Home Owners who have not missed a payment in 3 years or more need to read this. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home there is a solution.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Dealing With Pregnancy is Hard Enough. Getting Heartburn While Pregnant is a Pain. Learn What Causes Heartburn During Pregnancy.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Seniors: Here's your second chance to get Medicare

Didn't enroll in Medicare when you were first eligible? Do it now during the General Enrollment Period.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Toddler tantrum email series for moms

We get it. We’ve been there. Sign up for our email track for advice on how to handle different situations that may arise with your little one.