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Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 1999;36(1):29-34.

Diogenes syndrome and hoarding in the elderly: case reports.

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  • 1Geriatric Medical Center, Shmuel Harofe Hospital, Beer-Yaakov, Israel.


Presented here are two case reports of elderly persons with Diogenes syndrome (variously known as senile breakdown, social breakdown and senile squalor syndrome). Diogenes syndrome is often (but not always) characterized by a tendency to hoard excessively (syllogomania). The first patient was diagnosed as having both a schizotypal personality disorder and obessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) while the second was diagnosed as having a schizoid personality disorder. Only the former demonstrated the tendency to hoard rubbish. The Diogenes syndrome in both cases can be hypothesized to be a reaction to stress in elderly people with certain personality characteristics or as the end stage of a personality disorder. The hoarding behavior that was manifested only in the first case can probably be the result of the presence of an OCD. The authors raise the possibility that OCD may be the cause of hoarding rubbish in those cases of Diogenes syndrome in which hoarding exists and cannot be explained by psychotic disorders, dementia or any other mental disorders due to a general medical condition (GMC) or substance-related disorders.

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