Through a series of four studies, the authors observed people’s behavior when placed in a disorganized environment versus an orderly environment. They proposed that people in a disorganized environment experience a threat to their sense of personal control.
Elisa Arrienti Ferreira and her colleagues investigated animal hoarding cases in the city of Porto Alegre, following up a survey conducted by the city’s Secretariat for Animal Rights. Two-thirds of the animal hoarders were women, and most lived alone, consistent with the sense that the animals provided companionship and comfort to people who otherwise struggle to form relationships.
In patients with hoarding disorder, parts of a decision-making brain circuit under-activated when dealing with others' possessions, but over-activated when deciding whether to keep or discard their own possessions. Brain scans revealed the abnormal activation in areas of the anterior cingulate cortex and insula known to process error monitoring, weighing the value of things, assessing risks, unpleasant feelings, and emotional decisions.
Although hoarding pets is a disorder, there is little recognition for it. This is despite the fact that 2,000 new cases appear each year. Most animals found are sick and full of parasites, and there may be dead animals around.
Hoarders with cluttered bedrooms and less comfortable beds, depression and stress may increase as sleep decreases.