About Hoarding

What is Hoarding Disorder?

Hoarding Disorder (HD) is a mental health disorder where people have difficulty getting rid of possessions that are no longer useful. While most people go through periods during which they have trouble getting rid of things — for example, after the death of a loved one or when moving out of a childhood home — HD sufferers have difficulty parting with possessions all the time. Attempting to get rid of their things causes HD sufferers to feel significant distress, including when concerned loved ones try to get rid of possessions on their behalf.

For individuals with HD, the difficulty with getting rid of things causes their living spaces to become so cluttered that they are nearly unusable.  Without help, HD can interfere with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene, and/or sleeping. Extreme clutter can lead to eviction, increased risk for fire, and impaired access to emergency services. In addition, HD can lead to poor sanitation and cause serious conflict with families and communities.

Carolyn Rodriguez, MD, PhD, explains what it means to have Hoarding Disorder (HD).

Hoarding Disorder Diagnosis

A diagnosis of HD requires all three of the following:

  1. A person collects and keeps a lot of items, even things that appear useless or of little value to most people.
  2. These items clutter the living spaces and keep the person from using the rooms as they were intended.
  3. These items cause distress or problems in day-to-day activities.

To learn more about the difference between hoarding, clutter, and squalor, click here.


Why People with Hoarding Disorder Hang on to Objects

Carolyn Rodriguez, MD, PhD, explains why people with HD feel the need to hang on to objects.