Thomas Ramey Watson

Hoarders’ Brain Scans Reveal Why They Never De-Clutter

By Katherine Harmon

Excerpt:
Interestingly, hoarders showed lower brain activity in these regions when they were deciding about other people’s items. But when they were faced with their own items, these areas of the brain showed much higher rates of signaling than those in either people with OCD or the healthy controls. Those with hoarding disorder also reported “greater anxiety, indecisiveness and sadness” during the decision-making process than those with OCD or the healthy controls.

As Tolin and his co-authors noted, hoarders are not necessarily eager to keep everything they possess, but rather “the disorder is characterized by a marked avoidance of decision-making about possessions.” And the extra activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and insula while evaluating what to do with their own items “may hamper the decision-making process by leading to a greater sense of outcome uncertainty,” the researchers noted. In other words, hoarders might often feel that they are at risk of making a wrong decision—and that that decision could bring with it greater risk than it actually would. “The slower decision-making may be a central feature of impaired decision making in hoarding,” the researchers noted.

The frequent theme on hoarder reality shows is that the individual does not realize that their lifestyle has spiraled out of control. . . .

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