A systematic review and quality assessment of psychological, pharmacological, and family-based interventions for hoarding disorder

Asian J Psychiatr. 2017 Jun:27:53-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2017.02.020. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Introduction: Hoarding disorder (HD) affects at least 1.5% of the population and is considered to be hard to treat. The current study aimed to systematically review the treatments designed to improve HD symptoms and family impact.

Method: Searches of PsycINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science were undertaken. Studies were included if: (i) the study evaluated an intervention for hoarding problems; (ii) outcome measures were reported; and (iii) study results were published in an indexed journal or were a published abstract from a professional/research conference. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Clinical Trials Assessment Measure (CTAM).

Results: Twenty studies, comprising 492 participants with clinically significant hoarding symptoms or HD and 21 relatives of individuals with HD, met inclusion criteria. Treatments reviewed included cognitive-behavior therapy, medication, cognitive remediation, and multi-component interventions for relatives. Most studies yielded statistically significant improvements in hoarding symptoms, although reductions were generally modest and many participants remained in the clinical range after treatment. According to the CTAM, most studies were judged to be of low methodological quality.

Conclusions: HD is a chronic and highly burdensome condition for which efficacious treatments are needed. The current evidence base is somewhat limited and of low quality. Further research is needed to improve treatments, identify mechanisms of change, and increase the availability of evidence-based interventions for this group.

Keywords: Clinical trials; Cognitive-behavior therapy; Hoarding disorder; Obsessive-compulsive disorder; Randomized controlled trial; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Remediation / methods*
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Hoarding Disorder / drug therapy
  • Hoarding Disorder / nursing
  • Hoarding Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / standards*