The mental illness is thought to be related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and makes it difficult for a person to determine what's valuable and what isn't. Hoarding affects entire families, forcing the children of hoarders to keep secrets about their parent's debilitating compulsion. Many children also fear becoming hoarders themselves.
Holly Sabiston grew up with a mother who compulsively shopped and hoarded so much that the family had to take out three mortgages on their 3000 sq. ft. home in Kansas City. Sabiston told Here & Now's Monica Brady-Myerov that her mother was terrified of others learning about her illness. On the rare occasion that friends or family were invited to Sabiston's childhood home, the family had to shift and hide the overwhelming piles of possesions behind closed doors--a process experts call "churning."
"It was definitely a secret," she said, "There were only a few friends who got to see the inside of the house."..." More