How does hoarding start?

Hoarding is a complex psychological disorder characterized by the excessive accumulation of possessions, often to the point where living spaces become cluttered and unusable. While hoarding can progress gradually over time, there are early signs of hoarding that can be recognized and addressed, such as difficulty discarding possessions, accumulation of clutter, indecision, difficulty with organizing, and feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment. The exact cause of hoarding is not well understood, but research suggests that a combination of genetic, neurological, psychological, and environmental factors may contribute to the development of the disorder. One of the most common causes of hoarding is a traumatic event or a significant loss, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce. Hoarding can start as a way of coping with these events, as the individual may feel a strong emotional attachment to their possessions and may view them as a way to hold onto memories or feelings of security. Hoarding can also be associated with other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Genetics may also play a role in the development of hoarding, studies have shown that hoarding disorder tends to run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the condition. Brain chemistry and function may also contribute to hoarding, research has shown that certain regions of the brain, such as the anterior cingulate cortex and the basal ganglia, may be involved in hoarding. Imbalances in neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin can also contribute to the development of hoarding. Lastly, environmental factors such as poverty or lack of access to storage can also contribute to the development of hoarding. If you or someone you know is experiencing the early signs of hoarding, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible and to work with a team of mental health professionals to create a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the individual’s unique needs.