Dear Dr. Heller,

My mum is a massive hoarder and has been all my 31 yrs of living.  She has gradually gotten worse over the years.  I’m wondering is this OCD?  Or emotional trauma from childhood perhaps?  I don’t think there is any changing her now; she is nearly 70 yrs old , her house is a fire hazard and I’m worried for her.  But at this stage I’m just wondering if Hoarders are OCD or something else?  I’m trying to come to grips with it myself.

Thank you for your time Kind Regards


There are many reasons some people hoard.  The most common would be OCD, OCPD and especially anorexia nervosa.  I’d highly recommend you look at anorexia nervosa.  The criteria are available in the DSM IV, and there’s lots of information on line.  My screening test will be of use for other diagnoses as well.

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