Until recently, compulsive hoarding was believed to be a subtype of OCD. However, recent research suggests that although OCD and hoarding share some traits, they are in fact separate problems. Hoarding disorder involves considerable difficulties with getting rid of possessions due to beliefs about needing to save them and/or the distress that is caused by getting rid of them.

Hoarding behaviors lead to a build of up clutter in living spaces that makes it difficult to use them for what they were intended. In severe cases, this can lead to unsafe or unsanitary living conditions. Some individuals with hoarding disorder also engage in excessive acquiring of items that are not needed or for which there is not enough space in the home.