Randy Frost, a psychology professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., estimates that 2% to 3% of the population has OCD, and up to a third of those exhibit hoarding behavior.
Four keywords that are found when talking about Hoarding are: Indecisiveness, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Avoidance.
The primary reasons for Hoarding are biologically based rather than psychological. But studies (By Dr. Randy Frost) have shown that no real cause can be determined yet.
Hoarding conditions are one of the leading causes of eviction, besides non-payment.
Psychologically, hoarding defies easy categorization. It's often seen as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but some aspects don't fit the OCD pattern. Nearly 90% of hoarders also acquire things excessively and experience a rush that's not typical of OCD.
Approximately 92% of people who hoard have co-occurring mental disorders.
Studies show that hoarding usually begins at age 12 or 13 and progressively worsens with age, if untreated.
It is likely that up to a quarter million animals—250,000 per year—are victims of hoarders. What's more, records kept by ALDF (Animal Legal Defense Fund) indicate that in the last four years, the number of reported hoarding cases has more than doubled. In terms of the number of animals affected and the degree and duration of their suffering, hoarding is the number one animal cruelty crisis facing companion animals in communities throughout the country.
We sometimes see hoarding behaviour in kids as young as three years old. And there what we see is more emotional attachments to things.
One of the features of hoarding that seems counter-intuitive is that people who hoard tend to be highly perfectionistic. They're failed perfectionists. They've given up striving for perfection because nothing short of perfection is worthwhile.
About 17% of hoarders will also have some other type of obsessive compulsion that would qualify as an OCD problem.
We do suspect that current consumer culture is probably making the problem worse. It is an age-old problem, it's been around for centuries, so it's not new to our current culture, but it does look as though it's worsening.
It's very traumatic for hoarders to be forced to clean up. Typically, family members are enlisted to help and the rooms fill up again shortly after they are purged.