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Welcome to the April edition of Spotlight. As a reminder, this quarterly blog series brings you the latest research news and information about hoarding disorder (HD), from highlighting work by members of our Scientific & Clinical Advisory Board to the latest headlines in journals and popular media alike. This blog series is part of our larger Spotlight series, which contains monthly updates on OCD research & news, along with rotating quarterly features on hoarding disorder, pediatric OCD, and BDD.

Spotlight is also available via email so you can receive the latest research news and information directly in your inbox. Sign up to receive our March update, as well as all future issues, by going here and selecting the “Spotlight” option on our email signup form.

Making Headlines

Hoarding disorder advocates and stories making news around the globe this spring

salonExtreme hoarding: NYC team tackles both mess and the mind
Salon, March 31, 2016

A new private organization called The Hoarding Initiative has reached out to around 100 New Yorkers with hoarding disorder. Three full-time staff members, along with a dozen social work students collaborate with residents seeking help for hoarding disorder to initiate the cleanup process and provide free counseling, offered through a partnership with Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and The New School, which are studying the disorder. Individuals in the program are able to address clutter and evade potential consequences, while also building new mental health skills.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 1.14.14 PMCounty program illustrates the challenge of treating hoarding
Columbus Dispatch, April 2, 2016

Collaboration between different local government agencies and offices in Franklin County, Ohio is the focus of this article, that examines constant tweaks and revisions being made to a program designed to treat hoarding disorder. Officials say the relative successes and failures of those enrolled in the program so far shows identifying hoarding disorder is only the first step.

SCB Showcase

Members of the IOCDF Scientific & Clinical Advisory Board (SCB) are among the best clinicians and investigators in the United States who treat and/or conduct research in the field of OCD and related disorders, including hoarding disorder. Here, we recognize SCB members whose work has recently turned heads in the scientific community or general public.

washpoHoarding is a serious disorder — and it’s only getting worse in the U.S.
Washington Post, April 11, 2016

SCB members Sanjaya Saxena, MD, and Randy Frost, PhD, are both quoted in this article that combines several personal stories with facts and information from experts around the country in order to provide a closer look at the disorder, arguing that in recent years, this is a subject catching the attention of researchers, social workers, psychologists, fire marshals and public health officials alike.

Hoarding Disorder Research Corner

A monthly roundup of the latest in hoarding disorder research from scientific journals and other publications 

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 1.17.59 PMTreating Hoarding Disorder in a real-world setting: Results from the Mental Health Association of San Francisco ($)
Psychiatry Research, March 30, 2016

This study examined outcomes of group treatment for hoarding disorder led by psychologists in contrast to group treatment led by peers, two treatment delivery approaches the study’s authors say had previously never been directly compared before. While results showed no significant difference in Hoarding Severity Scale scores, the metric used to determine effectiveness of treatment and treatment outcomes, the authors found that peer-delivered treatment cost an average of $100 less per participant than psychologist-delivered treatment.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 1.20.53 PMDevelopment of a brief psychoeducational group intervention for carers of people with hoarding disorder: A proof-of-concept study
Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, April 2016

Hoarding disorder can affect more than just an individual; the disorder can also majorly impact family members and other loved ones of someone who hoards. Authors of the study ran a model six-week intervention and educational group to measure the impact this kind of approach has on increasing knowledge about hoarding disorder, caregiving experiences, emotions, wellbeing, distress, and coping styles of care-givers. Study results indicated significant improvements post-intervention in carer wellbeing, positive experiences of caregiving, and understanding of hoarding disorder, while no changes were observed in care-giver reports of burden, distress, expressed emotion, and coping styles.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 1.22.44 PMExamining the Link Between Hoarding Symptoms and Cognitive Flexibility Deficits ($)
Behavior Therapy, March 2016

Researchers involved with this study examined whether cognitive flexibility, or the ability to mentally focus and switch between different thoughts and actions, is impaired in individuals with hoarding disorder. The study used a new eye-tracking approach to investigate cognitive flexibility, with results showing that high hoarding participants consistently demonstrating greater cognitive inflexibility compared to the low hoarding group. Researchers ultimately concluded individuals who hoard may encounter greater difficulty disengaging and reallocating attention to a given task at hand regardless of whether the context of the distractor is specifically related to hoarding.

IOCDF Research Resources

Find other research-related resources from the IOCDF, including:

For researchers:


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