Hoarding isn't yet considered an official, distinct disorder. However, it appears to be more common in people with psychological disorders, such as alcohol dependence, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
To help diagnose compulsive hoarding disorder, mental health providers perform a thorough psychological evaluation. They ask many questions about your obsessions, compulsions and emotional well-being and may also ask your permission to talk with your relatives and friends.
To diagnose hoarding, mental health providers check for three main characteristics:
May. 25, 2011
- Acquisition of a large number of possessions that others would consider useless, along with an inability to discard them
- Having an overly cluttered home or living spaces — so cluttered that living spaces can't be used as intended, such as not being able to sleep in your bed, take a bath in your tub, or prepare food in your kitchen
- Having significant distress over your hoarding or difficulty accomplishing your daily activities
- Fact sheet: What is compulsive hoarding. International OCD Foundation. http://www.ocfoundation.org/uploadedFiles/Hoarding%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf?n=3557. Accessed March 14, 2011.
- Sansone RA, et al. Hoarding: Obsessive symptom or syndrome? Psychiatry. 2010;7:24.
- Tolin DF. Challenges and advances in treating hoarding. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2011. In press.
- Tolin DF. Understanding and treating hoarding: A biopsychosocial perspective. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2011. In press.
- Saxena S. Recent advances in compulsive hoarding. Current Psychiatry Reports. 2008;10:297.
- Storch EA, et al. Compulsive hoarding in children. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2011. In press.
- Tompkins MA. Working with families of people who hoard: A harm reduction approach. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2011. In press.