People who hoard have difficulty discarding items, have problems with too much clutter, and/or have a problem with acquiring too much. Their living spaces are often so cluttered that they can no longer use rooms, furniture, appliances and/or other objects for what they were originally intended. In some cases, animals may be the victims of hoarding behavior, compromising their welfare as well as the safety and well being of the person and other humans in the household.

Research has shown that object hoarding behavior typically begins at around age 13, although animal hoarding behavior usually begins in adulthood. On average, people seek behavioral health intervention at age 50.

A small number of people come forward for treatment on their own or at the request of family member or friend. However, most cases of hoarding, especially those that become a concern to the community, are brought to the attention of the public health department through a sanitation or code violation.

Approximately 5% or nearly 15 million Americans are sufferers of this complicated mental health problem. There is still a lot to be learned about the association of age when hoarding begins, genetics and brain biology as they relate to hoarding.


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