Many experts believe hoarding is a form of OCD, but not all health professionals agree.
For example, a 2012 study at the National Institutes of Health concludes, “People with hoarding disorder have trouble making decisions about when to throw things away. Possessions can pile up and result in debilitating clutter. Until recently, hoarding disorder has been considered a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Many experts, however, now consider it a unique diagnosis..”
Some studies have shown that aging is related to hoarding. Cornell University was part of a an Interdisciplinary New York City Hoarding Task Force that found, “As our population ages, hoarding has been increasingly recognized as a complex mental health problem that threatens the health, safety, and dignity of older adults. Although compulsive hoarding usually starts in young adulthood, it becomes particularly problematic later in life due to increased fall and fire risk. Moreover, the majority of older adults have multiple chronic health conditions, but necessary home care services may be denied until hoarding is resolved. Medicines can be buried under mounds of paper or clutter, and asthmatic conditions are exacerbated by dust and mold. Further, if the spouse dies who has been responsible for maintaining the home or if a person with advanced dementia loses the ability to organize or make rational judgments, then hoarding can spiral out of control..”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has created this infographic on Hoarding and OCD.