Pharmacotherapy for the Treatment of Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding disorder, which is characterized by difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, is common and potentially “disabling.” In fact, this behavior usually has some harmful effects, such as emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal implications. Also, people who hoard often exhibit irrational behavior.

In some studies, hoarding has been listed as diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD); however, some consider hoarding a disorder in itself. There are various routes of treatment for hoarding disorder, including both psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. For the purpose of this assignment, I will focus more on the pharmacotherapy.

Since hoarding disorder is closely associated with OCD, pharmacotherapy for the treatment of hoarding disorder is similar to treatment of OCD. Studies have shown that OCD patients respond well to the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibtors (SSRI’s), and some of these drugs have clinical effect in patients with hoarding behavior/disorder. In one study done by Sanjaya Saxena, it was concluded that the use of paroxetine (Paxil),¬†which is an SSRI, improved hoarding symptoms, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, venlafaxine has also shown good response with hoarding behaviors. In fact, venlafaxine had a trend for greater reduction in hoarding symptoms than that seen with paroxetine. New treatment strategies might also include cognitive enhancers, such as donepezil, to increase attention and executive functioning in patients with hoarding disorder.

In conclusion, hoarding disorder is a common and relevant problem that can tremendously affect someone’s life, but can be treated. Hoarding disorder, along with its signs and symptoms, can be improved by pharmacologic therapy (mostly the use of SSRI’s), psychological therapy, or a combination of both.

 

http://www.uspharmacist.com/content/d/pharmacy_focus/c/58008/

Saljoughian, Manouchehr. Hoarding Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment. US Pharm. 2015:40(11):60-62.

1 thought on “Pharmacotherapy for the Treatment of Hoarding Disorder”

  1. I think often times we forget that behavioral abnormalities can be the result of chemical and biochemical imbalances. Personally, I never would have guessed that something such as hoarding disorder could be ameliorated by anything other than regular visits to a clinical psychiatrist to alter behavioral patterns. To see the scope of our practice extend into subject areas that neither myself nor the majority of society thought possible or appropriate is certainly inspiring, and provides a positive outlook on our profession moving forward. If I hope to be part of that transition and state of constant growth and innovation, I need to change the way that I view things, and understand that our scope is only as limited as we make it.

Leave a Reply