Dr. Tolin says hoarding is most commonly seen in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but it can also stem from conditions such as depression, social anxiety, impulse control disorders (like impulsive buying) and bipolar disorder.

The warning signs of compulsive hoarding

The reasons people hoard are varied. For someone like Jennifer, hoarding behavior is often used to fill a void. "It was very hard for me to lose my father," she says. "So I shop. It's nowhere near a replacement of my father, but it provides a moment of joy in a world where that's rare."

Some, like Ron, hoard because they're afraid to throw away something they might one day need. "I probably learned a lot of disorganization in my childhood," he says. "I remember my dad worked on job sites and would bring home something that was salvageable or left over."


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