What age is hoarding most common?

Unveiling the Mystery: What Age is Hoarding Most Common?


Hoarding is a complex and often misunderstood behavior that affects individuals across different age groups. Understanding the age-related patterns and tendencies of hoarding is crucial in developing effective interventions and support for those affected. In this article, we delve into the prevalence of hoarding by age, examining the age demographics of hoarders and shedding light on the typical age range for hoarding behaviors.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hoarding tends to be more prevalent in older age groups, with studies showing higher rates of hoarding behavior among seniors.
  • Not all hoarders meet the diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), indicating that hoarding may be a separate syndrome.
  • Emotional attachments to possessions are common among hoarders, making it difficult for them to discard items.
  • An estimated 1.2 million people in the UK are living with hoarding disorder, highlighting the significant impact of hoarding on individuals and society.
  • Understanding the age distribution of hoarding behaviors is essential for developing targeted interventions and support systems.

By unraveling the mystery behind the age-related patterns in hoarding, we can pave the way for more effective strategies in assisting individuals affected by this challenging behavior.

Factors Influencing Hoarding Behavior

Psychological factors play a significant role in hoarding behavior. Hoarders often form emotional attachments to their possessions, seeing them as valuable and feeling safe around them. These possessions provide a sense of comfort and security. The difficulty discarding items is often driven by the belief that they may be needed in the future, leading to a fear of regret or loss if they are discarded. Hoarding can also be a way to cope with stress, loss, and trauma. The act of holding onto objects can provide a sense of control and stability in times of uncertainty.

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The impact of stress and trauma on hoarding behavior is evident, particularly during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown measures and increased levels of stress have heightened hoarding tendencies in some individuals. The uncertainty of the situation and the fear of scarcity may contribute to the need to accumulate possessions as a way of coping. Hoarding can become a maladaptive coping mechanism, providing temporary relief from anxiety and distress.

Researchers have found a link between hoarding and other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Hoarding behavior may be driven by underlying psychological issues, including perfectionism, difficulty making decisions, and a fear of making mistakes. Understanding the reasons behind hoarding behavior is crucial for developing effective treatment strategies. By addressing the emotional attachments, underlying psychological factors, and providing support for stress management and coping skills, interventions can help individuals with hoarding disorder regain control over their lives and possessions.


Hoarding disorder is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive approach to treatment. Traditional treatments for OCD may not be effective for hoarding, highlighting the need for specialized interventions.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has shown promise in helping individuals with hoarding disorder, with a focus on challenging beliefs about possessions and developing skills for decision-making and organization. Support groups and psychoeducation can also be beneficial for hoarders and their families.

Ongoing research is necessary to further understand the underlying mechanisms of hoarding and to develop more targeted and effective interventions. By addressing the age-related patterns, psychological factors, and treatment approaches, we can better support individuals affected by hoarding disorder.

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Does Hoarding Tend to Increase as People Get Older?

As people age, the hoarding and aging correlation becomes more prominent. Many older individuals tend to accumulate belongings over the years, leading to increased hoarding tendencies. This can be attributed to a variety of factors such as nostalgia, fear of loss, and the desire to hold onto memories from the past.

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