Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

SRI Medication Effective In Treating Compulsive Hoarding Patients

Date:
October 25, 2006
Source:
University of California - San Diego
Summary:
In a paper published online in advance of publication in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Sanjaya Saxena, M.D., director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Program at UCSD School of Medicine, reports the surprising finding that the serotonin reuptake inhibitor medication, paroxetine, is effective in treating patients with compulsive hoarding syndrome.

In a paper published on-line in advance of publication in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Sanjaya Saxena, M.D., Director of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD) Program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, reports the surprising finding that the serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) medication, paroxetine, is effective in treating patients with compulsive hoarding syndrome.

The study of 79 patients diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) -- 32 of them with compulsive hoarding syndrome -- suggests that further controlled trials of SRI medications for compulsive hoarding are now warranted.

Compulsive hoarding, which may affect up to 2 million people in the United States, is found in people with many diseases, including anorexia, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and dementia. It is most often found in patients with OCD, though researchers are not yet sure if it is a subtype of OCD or a separate disorder.

In previous, retrospective studies -- looking at patients and data from past drug trials -- compulsive hoarding had been associated with poor response to SRI medications commonly used to treat OCD patients. However, no previous study had ever directly tested this widely held theory. Saxena's prospective study, comparing the hoarding and non-hoarding OCD patients, showed nearly identical responses to paroxetine (commonly known as Paxil.) The symptoms exhibited by patients in both groups improved significantly with treatment.

Compulsive hoarding patients exhibit three core features: failure to discard objects due to severe anxiety related to discarding what most might regard as inconsequential objects; excessive acquisition, sometimes resulting in buying sprees; and excessive clutter to the point where home and work spaces can no longer be used. They also display marked indecisiveness, disorganization, and procrastination. Sometimes such patients are only discovered when a landlord, social worker or fireman enters a home in which every available surface -- floors, tables, sofas and beds -- is covered with clutter making the space inhabitable.

"The syndrome is driven by obsessional fears of not having items you might need, or of losing something valuable, as well as overly sentimental attachments to objects." said Saxena.

Compulsive hoarding is a psychiatric disorder with brain abnormalities that can be seen and measured, according to Saxena, whose research focuses on the neurobiology (brain abnormalities) and treatment of OCD and related mood and anxiety disorders. He points out that the disorder is treatable through a combination of medication and therapy. Saxena and colleagues at UCSD recently opened a new clinic in La Jolla to treat patients with OCD and related disorders, including compulsive hoarding.

Saxena was formerly director of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute's OCD Research Program, where he and his research team used positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging to discover distinct patterns of brain activity that were associated with compulsive hoarding but not found in non-hoarding OCD patients. Preliminary data from their brain studies also suggest that people with compulsive hoarding are more likely to have mild atrophy or an unusual shape to their frontal lobes, which is the part of the brain associated with executive functions and decision-making. In a few months, the UCSD team will begin a new PET study of compulsive hoarding, as well as a study of hoarding in patients over 55.

"The vast majority of compulsive hoarders have had problems for many years before seeking help," Saxena said, with symptoms that worsen over time. "As patients age and live independently, they may become isolated, and the hoarding syndrome can spin out of control."

Saxena has authored or co-authored over 40 scientific articles and book chapters and has presented his work at many major national and international scientific meetings. He has received awards and grants from the American Psychiatric Association, American Neuropsychiatric Association, National Institute of Mental Health, and the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation. His research has garnered attention from local and national media, and he has been featured on CNN, the Discovery Channel, the New York Times, Boston Globe and Discover Magazine.

The UCSD Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders Clinic offers specialized assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients with OCD, compulsive hoarding and other related disorders, such as trichotillomania (hair pulling), body dysmorphic disorder and Tourette Syndrome. Patients can phone the clinic at 858-534-6200 for an appointment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Diego. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Diego. "SRI Medication Effective In Treating Compulsive Hoarding Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061024214706.htm>.
University of California - San Diego. (2006, October 25). SRI Medication Effective In Treating Compulsive Hoarding Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061024214706.htm
University of California - San Diego. "SRI Medication Effective In Treating Compulsive Hoarding Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061024214706.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins