Do you live surrounded by clutter - ancient copies of magazines, your children’s old toys, articles you’ve clipped out of newspapers over the years? If you find it hard to throw out things of limited or no value, you could be suffering from hoarding disorder.
‘Hoarding’ is just one of the new mental conditions being added to the psychiatrists’ bible, or the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM), to give it its proper name.
Other new conditions identified as possibly needing professional help include binge eating - which is said to affect many people who are seriously obese - and ‘cognitive tempo disorder’, which seems very like laziness (symptoms include dreaminess and sluggishness).
There’s also ‘intermittent explosive disorder’, which involves occasionally becoming very angry suddenly. Most bizarre of the proposed additions is one defined as ‘getting a thrill at being outraged by pornography’. It was also described as Whitehouse syndrome after the campaigner Mary Whitehouse, who objected to sexual content on TV.
The DSM is a large book that lists all psychiatric disorders and describes their symptoms. If a condition is in there, it means it’s considered a mental illness. But some of the new entries are controversial, not least because of fears they will result in many more people being put on drugs that could be ineffective or dangerous.
The DSM is produced by the American Psychiatric Association and is hugely influential worldwide.
‘Once a condition has got a label you’ve got a better chance of being treated and researchers are more likely to investigate it,’ explains Professor David Cottrell, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Leeds.