Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To help diagnose hoarding disorder, mental health providers perform a thorough psychological evaluation. They may ask questions about your acquiring and discarding of items and your emotional well-being. They may also ask your permission to talk with relatives and friends.

Hoarding disorder appears to be more common in people with psychological disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression or anxiety disorder. So your mental health provider may also ask questions to see if you have symptoms of other mental health disorders.

To be diagnosed with hoarding disorder, you must meet criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

Diagnostic criteria for hoarding disorder include:

  • You have difficulty throwing out or parting with your things, regardless of actual value.
  • You feel a need to save these items, and the thought of discarding them upsets you.
  • Because you don't discard any items, your possessions crowd and clutter your living areas and make the space unusable. If any living areas are uncluttered, it's because someone else cleaned them.
  • Your hoarding causes you significant distress or problems functioning at work, socially or in other important areas, such as keeping yourself and others safe in your home.
  • Your hoarding is not due to another medical condition, such as a brain injury, or another mental disorder symptom, such as decreased energy from major depression.
May 08, 2014