It is very difficult to say what precisely causes hoarding.
Since the disorder is common among people with a family history, the Mayo Clinic believes that "genetics and upbringing are likely among the triggering factors."
However, there are some common characteristics of people who suffer from hoarding disorder.
Causes or Characteristics of Hoarding
Some of the characteristics or causes of hoarding that have been found among a majority of clinically diagnosed hoarders include the following:
- - Hoarders tend to suffer from depression or anxiety and have family histories of hoarding
- - Hoarders tend to suffer from high demands of perfectionism, either from themselves or their family
- - Hoarders have problems with attention, memory, decision-making and categorization; brain scans indicate that the areas of the brain responsible for these activities function differently in hoarders
- - Hoarders create strong emotional attachments to an array of things others would throw away, and they personify inanimate objects; they find comfort in these things
- - Hoarders tend to oppose the wasting of anything for fear that opportunities may be lost, and they oppose throwing things away for fear that they can no longer appreciate an object's place in their memory
Behavior that resembles hoarding typically begins around age 13. It has been seen in children as young as three years old, but it does not resemble hoarding disorder in these early years. Instead, it may look like the personification of non-living things and having strong attachments to these things.
Hoarding as a disorder takes a slow, chronic course, with ups and downs as one ages, and doesn’t reach a severe level generally until a person has reached their 40s or later.