Hoarding and Empathy

Hoarding and EmpathyA recent conference suggests that the extreme emotional attachment a hoarder feels toward his stuff could be due to excessive empathy, particularly affective empathy as measured by their response to others’ distress.

Though collecting and saving stuff are normal, you can definitely have too much of this good thing. Estimates put the rate of hoarding disorder in the general population at 2 to 5 percent. The key signals for DSM inclusion are causing distress and disability but this is not just about huge collections of Star Wars figures or saving hundreds of cans for Armageddon. It is the type of hoarding that renders a place that’s almost uninhabitable.

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