Depression: Depression & Related Conditions

Ask Dr. Schwartz
Ask Dr. Schwartz
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Why Does My Mother Hoard Everything, Including Garbage?

My mother has had this problem ever since I can remember. The house was always so filthy and I learned never to invite friends over. I still panic when I hear a doorbell. Now that I am out of the house and married, she has gotten worse. She hides inside her house and mainly lies in bed. She goes to work at a job she has had for over 20 years. Her mental health issues are threatening her job. I can't convince her to document her medical issues. She is on several medications and needs to be back in therapy. I know the meds. will only go so far without talking.

I want to know some general info about hoarding and why people live in filth (sometimes as bad as dog feces collecting). I've been through it all with her. I was angry that she was wasting away, not being a mother and was going to die in her home. I was convinced I'd be the one to find her and she would leave me all alone to clean up her horrible mess. I'm less angry and more hopeful as I have grown to be a happy person as an adult. I motivate her, challenge her, trust her, and give her more love and encouragement then I ever have. I don't know how to help her. I don't understand her, but I believe in mental illness and I believe in treatment. I just dont know what the big first step needs to be, besides seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist.

Thank You

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