Many theories have been put forward concerning why people hoard. The reality is that only a limited amount of research has been undertaken in an authoritative manner on the subject of why people hoard. With that said, this article presents a discussion of some of the more widely accepted reasons why individuals engage in hoarding behavior.
Hoarding Is a Mental Health Condition
Perhaps nothing more important related to your parent’s hoarding behavior is understanding that your mother or father is laboring under a mental health condition. In recent years, hoarding has been recognized as a mental health condition. Prior to hoarding being classified as a mental health condition – called hoarding disorder – hoarding was included with the category of obsessive compulsive disorder of OCD. Because hoarding is a mental health condition, you need to recognize that our parents cannot be blamed of shamed for what is occurring in his or her life.
Depression May Lead to Hoarding
The incidence of depression among older people is higher than it is among people in some other age cohorts. Depression represents another type of condition that can cause or at least contribute to hoarding behavior. As an aside, in addition to being a factor underpinning hoarding disorder in the first instance, hoarding disorder can cause a person to suffer depression as well.
General Anxiety Disorder May Result in Hoarding
General anxiety disorder is another condition that can result in a person facing the prospect of hoarding disorder. A general anxiety disorder may cause a person to feel profoundly compelled to amass and hold on to items and objects of different types, including things that have no actual value whatsoever. There are an abundant number of cases of hoarding in which the individual with hoarding disorder actually hoards garbage.
PTSD May Result in Hoarding
PTSD is yet another condition that can give rise to hoarding disorder in some cases. PTSD arises after an individual experiences some type of traumatic event (or series of traumatic events). When their backgrounds are considered, a considerable number of people with hoarding disorder have endured some type of traumatic event at a prior junction in their lives.
Another reality is that PTSD diagnosis may become aggravated when a person develops hoarding disorder. In turn as PTSD becomes more significant, an individual’s hoarding behavior may accelerate. A true vicious cycle may initiate.
Older People Are More Inclined to Hoard
The incidence of hoarding disorder is significantly higher among older people. There are a host of reasons why this is the case, including that a higher percentage of older people experience traumatic events – including the death of a spouse, death of a child, and divorce.
Incidence of Hoarding Disorder is Higher Among Women
Research and actual experience reveal that the incidence of hoarding is higher among women. In fact, it actually appears that the rate of hoarding among women – particularly older women – is significantly higher when contrasted with the rest of the U.S. population. For example, a much higher number of women begin to hoard after a divorce than do men. The incidence of post-divorce hoarding among women is markedly higher if a woman is older (over 50) at the time of a divorce. In addition a woman’s propensity to hoard is sharpened significantly if the children already are grown.
Personal Characteristics May Lead To Hoarding
On a broader level, your parent may have some more generalized characteristics that contributed to your mother or father developing a hoarding disorder. Some of these generalized personal characteristics might be connected with one or another of mental or emotional health conditions previously discussed in this article.
The personal characteristics that may lead to your parent afflicted with hoarding disorder include:
- Experiences as a child in which there were limitations in regard to money and property ownership
- Divorce is demonstrated as a life occurrence that can put a person on the pathway to hoarding
- Death of spouse is another life event that has the potential to result in a person becoming afflicted with hoarding disorder
- Loss of a child can result in an individual experiencing a slide towards hoarding behavior
There exist other underlying reasons why a person may end up afflicted with hoarding disorder. Having said that, what is presented here are some of the most commonplace underlying or associated reasons why a person may hoard – perhaps even your parent. They provide a starting point for learning more about why your parent hoards.
You do need to bear in mind that your parent’s own experiences that lead to the onset of hoarding disorder are unique to him or her. In the end, you really learn more about why your parent hoards by listening to what your mother or father has to say on the subject. Keeping lines of communication open with a parent who hoards is crucial for an adult child.