The American Psychiatric Association recently published the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). For the first time, the DSM defines Hoarding Disorder. Hoarding Disorder is diagnosed when patients fit the following criteria:

  1. Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.
  2. This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items and distress associated with discarding them.
  3. The symptoms result in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromise their intended use.
  4. The hoarding causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Additionally, the DSM-V definition of Hoarding Disorder has two “specifiers” (features that may or may not be present):

  1. Excessive acquiring: Those with Hoarding Disorder may not be able to stop themselves from acquiring new items no matter how hard they try.
  2. Poor insight: Those with Hoarding Disorder may not be able to recognize the severity of their problem.

Source: Tolin, David F., Randy O. Frost, and Gail Steketee. Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007.

For a more detailed description of Hoarding Disorder, as defined by the DSM-5, click here.