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:
- Persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value.
- This difficulty is due to a perceived need to save the items and distress associated with discarding them.
- The symptoms result in the accumulation of possessions that congest and clutter active living areas and substantially compromise their intended use.
- 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):
- Excessive acquiring: Those with Hoarding Disorder may not be able to stop themselves from acquiring new items no matter how hard they try.
- 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.