What Causes Hoarding

What Causes Hoarding?

Collecting is when a person has a sense of pride in the items they accumulate and the joy they experience in displaying and talking about them. Collectors usually budget their time and money to keep adding to their collection. Hoarding, by definition, is a very different situation.

Many hoarders can get over sentimental with items that have little or no value at all. The obsession with hoarding goes to the extreme of keeping everything possible. When asked to reduce the clutter which accumulates around the house, the person hoarding can become overwhelmed with emotion unable to cope with any thoughts of ever removing anything whatsoever. Hoarding can be a form of comfort to a person, helping to give them a feeling of security. Collecting a multitude of animals is another dimension of hoarding. With the house already in disarray with piles of rubbish everywhere, the health issues that can be caught because of animal excrement throughout the property bring additional problems to the situation. Some hoarders have been known to accumulate dozens of cats!

Although there isn’t a definitive answer as to why people hoard, listed below are some factors that can trigger a person to start hoarding:


Even though hoarding is not entirely a genetic disorder, there is some genetic predisposition involved with a case like this. Therefore, a person is more likely to hoard if the house they grew up in was chaotic and unhealthy because hoarding can give them a sense of security.


Some people use hoarding as a coping mechanism after experiencing a stressful or traumatic event such as the death of a loved one, divorce or eviction.

Social Isolation

Moreover, hoarders are often socially withdrawn and isolated, causing them to hoard as a way to find comfort.

The Brain

Serotonin has been found to play a key role in disorders such as OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and anxiety which are all connected to hoarding.

APDO recognises that chronic hoarding is a serious disorder but our members are able to offer expert help. Founded in 2004, APDO is now a thriving professional community with over 270 accredited experts across the UK. We have members who are experts at helping hoarders and can provide the necessary service required to get the job done. They have the expertise and experience to work with the hoarders even on a long term basis. If you need advice on hoarding or want to find out more about how APDO can help, please check around our website for further information or to find your nearest professional organiser.

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