The Psychology of a Hoarder
Up to 5% of the world’s population displays clinical hoarding.
Children begin collecting objects at 25 months of age. By age 6, nearly 70% of children collect or store things.
Characteristics of a Hoarder
Acquiring large numbers of useless items and neglecting or refusing to get id of them.
Cluttering living spaces so they cannot be used for their intended purposes.
Being incapable of returning borrowed items, sometimes leading to theft.
Stats on hoarders
75% of hoarders engage in excessive buying
50% excessively acquire free items
15% acknowledge their behavior is irrational
Causes of Hoarding
Family – 50% of hoarders grow up with a hoarding family member
Evolution – Some speculate that hoarding was once advantageous, and has been preserved in certain family llines
Genetics – Genetic factors account for 50% of hoarding variance
Treatment for Hoarding
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Positive results. 70% of patients respond to talk therapy based skills training and motivational interviewing.
Mixed results. Scientists don’t fully understand neurological sources of hoarding, so it is difficult to target with medication
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Poor results. Subjects forced to throw away large quantities of objects responded poorly and refused further treatment
Help & Resources for Hoarders
- Delphi Center for Organization
- Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation
- Children of Hoarders
- North Star Rescue