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The Link Between ADHD and Hoarding Tendencies: Explained

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and hoarding behaviours are two distinct conditions, but they can sometimes overlap and exhibit interconnected characteristics. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, while hoarding disorder is a mental health condition characterized by a persistent difficulty discarding possessions, leading to the accumulation of clutter and distress. Understanding the connection between ADHD and hoarding behaviours is essential to provide appropriate support and treatment for individuals who experience both conditions. In this discussion, we will explore the relationship between ADHD and hoarding behaviours, the commonalities, and how they may influence each other.

graphics of messy clothes on the floor and hands holding ADHD letters

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects individuals of all ages, although it is most commonly diagnosed in childhood. It is characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which can significantly impact one's daily life, academic or occupational performance, and interpersonal relationships.

While the exact causes of ADHD are still being researched, a combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental factors is believed to contribute to its development. This disorder can be challenging to manage, but with the right strategies, support, and interventions, individuals with ADHD can lead fulfilling lives. In this discussion, we will delve into the details of ADHD, its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options, shedding light on this complex and often misunderstood condition.


ADHD presents with a wide range of symptoms, and these can manifest differently in individuals. There are primarily three subtypes of ADHD:

Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: Individuals with this subtype struggle with maintaining focus, being organized, and often make careless mistakes. They may frequently lose items, have difficulty completing tasks, and struggle to follow through on instructions or commitments.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: This subtype is characterized by excessive physical activity, restlessness, impulsivity, and difficulty controlling impulses. These individuals may interrupt others, have trouble waiting their turn, and act without thinking about the consequences.

Combined Presentation: This is the most common subtype and includes a combination of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.

ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a significant number of individuals across the lifespan. While it poses challenges in various aspects of life, early diagnosis and appropriate management can make a substantial difference in the quality of life for those with ADHD.

Understanding the symptoms, obtaining a proper diagnosis, and exploring treatment options can lead to improved functioning and better long-term outcomes. It is essential to foster a supportive and empathetic environment for individuals with ADHD, as awareness and education about the disorder are crucial steps towards reducing stigma and ensuring that those affected can thrive to their fullest potential.


Diagnosing ADHD is a complex process that typically involves a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. The diagnostic criteria are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Clinicians assess the presence of symptoms, their duration, and their impact on various aspects of a person's life, such as school, work, and relationships. Gathering information from multiple sources, including parents, teachers, and the individual themselves, is crucial to making an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment Options:

ADHD can be effectively managed with a combination of strategies and interventions, which may include:

Therapy: This form of therapy helps individuals develop coping strategies and improve executive functioning skills, such as organization and time management.

Medication: Stimulant and non-stimulant medications are commonly prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms. These medications can help enhance focus, reduce impulsivity, and improve overall functioning.

Educational Support: Many individuals with ADHD benefit from specialized education plans that offer accommodations, such as extended time on tests, or reduced distractions in the classroom.



ADHD and Hoarding:

Commonalities and Overlapping Traits

While ADHD and hoarding are distinct conditions, they share some common traits that can lead to an overlap in symptoms. These traits include:

Executive Functioning: Both ADHD and hoarding behaviours can be associated with impaired executive functioning skills. Individuals with ADHD may struggle with organization, time management, and decision-making, while hoarders often have difficulty with categorizing and organizing possessions.

Procrastination: Individuals with ADHD may procrastinate tasks, leading to clutter and disorganization in their living spaces. Hoarders also tend to delay decisions about discarding items, contributing to clutter.

Impulsivity: Impulsivity is a hallmark feature of ADHD, and it can lead to impulsive buying or acquiring of items. In hoarding, the acquisition of possessions without careful consideration can contribute to the clutter problem.

The Influence of ADHD on Hoarding Behaviours:

For individuals with ADHD, the challenges of inattention and impulsivity can contribute to hoarding behaviours. They may struggle to stay organized, leading to clutter, and their impulsivity can result in acquiring items without thought to their necessity. ADHD can make it difficult for individuals to prioritize and follow through with decluttering tasks.

The Influence of Hoarding Behaviours on ADHD:

Hoarding behaviours can exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD. Living in cluttered environments can be distracting for individuals with ADHD, making it even harder to focus and manage their symptoms effectively. The stress and anxiety associated with hoarding may also negatively impact their ability to control impulsivity and inattention.

Treatment and Support:

 Addressing both ADHD and hoarding behaviours typically requires a comprehensive approach. Treatment may involve a combination of therapies, including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) to address hoarding behaviours and behavioural therapy to manage ADHD symptoms. Medications may also be prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms. Support from mental health professionals, family, and friends is essential for individuals dealing with both conditions.


The relationship between ADHD and hoarding behaviours is complex, and it is crucial to recognize how these conditions can influence each other. While they are distinct diagnoses, the overlapping traits and challenges they present can create a unique set of difficulties for affected individuals. Acknowledging this connection is a crucial step in providing the right support, treatment, and strategies to help individuals with both ADHD and hoarding behaviours improve their quality of life and overall well-being. Effective treatment should be tailored to address both conditions, considering the interplay between them, to maximize the chances of success in managing these challenges.


(This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission through qualifying purchases. Links are not recommendations unless stated)


Recommended Reading:

by Lily Beachem


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Clearout NI

Therapeutic Decluttering and

De-hoarding services

(Northern Ireland / UK)

Tel: 02895 555 600


(This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission through qualifying purchases. Links are not recommendations unless stated)

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