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:
May 08, 2014
- 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.
- Hoarding disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Feb. 12, 2014.
- Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf. Accessed Feb. 12, 2014.
- Obsessive compulsive and related disorders. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx. Accessed Feb. 12, 2014.
- Hoarding fact sheet. International OCD Foundation. http://www.ocfoundation.org/hoarding/fact_sheet.aspx. Accessed Feb. 12, 2014.
- Hoarding: The basics. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/hoarding-basics. Accessed Feb. 12, 2014.
- Ale CM, et al. Family-based behavioral treatment of pediatric compulsive hoarding: A case example. Clinical Case Studies. 2014;13:9.
- Symonds A, et al. Shining a light on hoarding disorder. Nursing. 2013;43:22.
- Murroff J, et al. Cognitive behavior therapy for hoarding disorder: Follow-up findings and predictors of outcome. Depression and Anxiety. In press. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Pallanti S, et al. Pharmacological, experimental therapeutic, and transcranial magnetic stimulation treatments for compulsivity and impulsivity. CNS Spectrums. 2014;19:50.
- Whiteside SP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 3, 2014.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 4, 2014.