Hoarding Behaviour

Not everyone who has too much stuff has hoarding disorder. For many people, a life event can intensify existing tendencies for clutter, trigger heightened anxiety and/or depression which can result in an inability to cope with day to day tasks.

There is a spectrum of order that we all live on. Some people can be excessively tidy and minimalist, others may have some belongings, collections and even too much.




A useful tool for assessing whether there is a problem or not is by using the Clutter Index Rating.

Although it formerly had clinical recognition as a subheading of Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder, Hoarding Disorder has now been formally recognised in it’s own right with the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual  (DSM-V).

As with many psychological disorders the symptoms of Hoarding Disorder are exhibited behaviourally. A person with Hoarding Disorder will have difficulty discarding or parting with personal possessions, regardless of their actual value because there is a perceived need to save the items, and significant distress associated with discarding them.

As a result, a large number of possessions congest and clutter the living space and often other areas. Space becomes unusable in the way it should be used. Sleeping on a bed, using the loo, cooking in the kitchen, etc., can become difficult if not impossible.

Some may recognise and acknowledge that they have a problem; others may not.

Often this impacts people’s normal daily activity e.g. students can’t find their school work, people can be late for work, and often there are financial difficulties. While it may seem that the best solution is to ‘get rid of the stuff’, evidence is that this is not really what is helpful either for the person or the others impacted.

“Hoarding disorder is included in DSM-5 because research shows that it is a distinct disorder with distinct treatments. Using DSM-IV, individuals with pathological hoarding behaviors could receive a diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, anxiety disorder not otherwise specified or no diagnosis at all, since many severe cases of hoarding are not accompanied by obsessive or compulsive behavior. Creating a unique diagnosis in DSM-5 will increase public awareness, improve identification of cases, and stimulate both research and the development of specific treatments for hoarding disorder.”

We are able to write letters, make calls and work to bring professionals and people who
deal with hoarding behaviours to find a way forward.  Please get in touch by letter, phone or email.


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Davina House
137-149 Goswell Road
London EC1V 7ET

T: 020 3239 1600

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