Hoarding is a common problem that affects two to five percent of Americans. It is more than just collecting items, it is a mental disorder than can affect a person’s home and social life. Here are six interesting facts about hoarding that you may not have known.
Hoarding is Hereditary
Studies have shown that a region on chromosome 14 is linked with this compulsive hoarding behavior suggesting that hoarding is genetic. Also, half of all hoarders grew up with a parent who was a hoarder themselves.
Hoarding Triggers Anxiety
A hoarder is unable to get rid of or throw away items. By keeping the items around them the hoarder feels safe and secure.
Trying to get rid of their things right away can give them anxiety and make them uncomfortable because they can’t let these items go. They continue to collect more and more things in their home because it is such a struggle to even consider getting rid of items.
Hoarding is About the Fear of Making a Wrong Choice
Commonly, hoarders have grown up with parents who are perfectionists. This teaches them to be perfectionists as well. By being a perfectionist, the hoarder doesn’t want to make a wrong choice and has a hard time making a decision at all. They are afraid that if they decide to get rid of something, it will be the wrong choice and they will need it later on.
This mental process causes them to keep everything, collecting it in piles and stacks throughout their home.
Hoarders Are Afraid of Running out of an Item
As if they are preparing for a natural disaster or emergency, hoarders get things in large numbers because they are afraid of running out one day. What if they need something and can’t get to the store? It is for this reason that hoarders keep great stockpiles of items that are either useless, or excessive beyond the point of being useful.
By filling up their home with everything they think they may need one day, their quality of living is greatly decreased. Their home becomes dirty and unsafe, sometimes with important areas in their home not accessible, such as their toilet, bathtub, or fridge. Their home often gets in a state of disrepair.
Hoarders Have an Intense Attachment to Items
Some hoarders keep many items to remember a time in their life, or a person. They feel that if they throw the object away, they will forget about the memory associated with it.
They also attach a human-like quality to items that they keep because if they get rid of the items it would be like getting rid of a person. This idea causes a great amount of emotion in them, leading to anxiety.
For example, they don’t want to get rid of a stack of magazines because their sister gave them the subscription as a birthday gift years ago. To them, if they throw away the magazines it would be as if they are throwing away their sister.
There Are Different Types of Hoarders
The most common type of hoarder is the person who saves anything and everything. They save free items, things they buy, and gifts others give them.
Then, there is the animal hoarder. An animal hoarder collects and keeps too many pets to be able to care for them. They have a close attachment to each of their animals and don’t want to let any of them go. Their home is often cluttered, stinky, and unsanitary.
Another type of hoarder is a book hoarder. This person has so many books stacked everywhere in their home. They have many copies of the same book, and they keep books they won’t ever read. They collect books just because they need to have them.
As interesting as the facts about hoarding are, it is a serious illness and problem. It needs the right type of therapy treatment and, junk removal, and cleaning out of the hoarder’s home.