Hoarding and Depression: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Hoarding behaviors are associated with many mental health conditions, including depression. Seeking treatment for the buildup can help you cope.

If you have sentimental attachments to items and are having a hard time letting go of them, you may be experiencing hoarding behaviors. Hoarding can lead to a messy home and trouble living in your space the way you intended.

These behaviors can cause significant shame and embarrassment. As a result, you may not want to let people into your space for fear of being judged.

Hoarding is associated with many other mental health conditions. One of the most frequent associations with hoarding behavior is its link to depression.

Hoarding is when a person has difficulty discarding items or acquiring large amounts of possessions.

According to the American Psychiatric AssociationAbout 2.6% of people meet the criteria for hoarding disorder. Rates are higher in people age 60 and older and in people with other mental health conditions, particularly anxiety and depression.

2011 investigation reported that more than 50% of people with hoarding disorder had received a diagnosis of depression.

and a study 2019 indicates that hoarding disorder shows high rates of comorbidity with mood disorders and anxiety disorders.

signs of hoarding include:

  • having trouble disposing of possessions, even if they are not valuable
  • save items due to potential future needs
  • Distress associated with throwing items
  • messy areas in the home
  • congested living areas in houses that block their intended use
  • areas cleared as a result of third party intervention

Hoarding behavior and hoarding disorder can cause difficulties in social or occupational domains. Your relationships can be affected by hoarding behavior. To receive a diagnosis of hoarding disorder, the symptoms cannot be caused by another mental health disorder or medical condition.

Also, because depression can cause a lack of motivation Y increased fatigueliving in a clear space can be more challenging.

Hoarding is associated with many other mental health conditions besides depression.

A studio 2021 found that hoarding is associated with conditions such as:

Also, a study 2019 discovered that experimenting trauma was associated with hoarding behaviors.

There are many potential causes of hoarding behavior:


Genetics can influence hoarding behavior.

for example, a 2015 study of 71 older adults who evaluated hoarding disorder found that about half of the participants reported that their mother had hoarding tendencies, while a quarter of the participants reported that their father had hoarding tendencies.

The same study found that participants reported, on average, two biological relatives with hoarding disorder. Research suggests there may be a genetic component to the development of hoarding behaviors.

medical conditions

Many medical conditions are associated with hoarding behavior.

Damage to the frontal cortex of the brain can lead to hoarding behavior. For example, A case study of a 42-year-old found that hoarding behaviors developed after a brain hemorrhage at age 19.

Other research which reviews numerous case studies on traumatic brain injury (TBI) and hoarding also supports the notion that the collection and storage of items may occur due to damage to the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

Research indicates that hoarding and collecting items are also associated with a rare genetic disorder known as Prader-Willi syndrome.

emotional factors

There are several emotional factors associated with hoarding disorder.

A study 2018 of 122 participants compared deficits in emotional regulation between people diagnosed with hoarding disorder and a control group. The findings of this study suggest that people with hoarding disorder have greater difficulty implementing emotional regulation strategies.

Participants with hoarding disorder specifically reported problems in these areas:

  • lack of clarity regarding emotions
  • trouble controlling their behavior when they are distressed
  • Difficulty engaging in goal-directed thoughts and behaviors.
  • trouble implementing strategies to feel better when overwhelmed or experiencing distress
  • trouble accepting emotions and emotional responses

This research indicates that emotion regulation may play a role in hoarding disorder.

Experiences of loss and deprivation.

Many people with hoarding disorder report experiences of loss and deprivation.

A study 2021 of 117 people about stressful and traumatic events among people with hoarding problems highlights this connection.

The researchers found that events involving deprivation or loss were related to a person’s emotional attachment to objects.

If you struggle with hoarding and depression, treatment options They’re available.

If you have a loved one or know someone who needs help with hoarding and depression, getting them to join treatment can be challenging. Many people with hoarding disorder have difficulty accepting the problem that hoarding has caused them.

If you have problematic hoarding behaviors, it may be difficult to accept help because you may experience emotions such as guilt, embarrassment, or embarrassment. However, it is okay to ask for help and there are ways to improve your quality of life.

Treatment Options for Hoarding

Treatment options for hoarding are a growing area of ​​research; however, there are some treatment methods that have reduced the symptoms of accumulation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people address the beliefs that drive hoarding behavior as well as helping to reduce clutter.

A 2016 study examined the effectiveness of a psychologist-led CBT group and a peer-led group using exercises in the “Buried in Treasure” workbook and found an overall 22% improvement in hoarding behaviors.

Participants had reported problematic hoarding behaviors. The most notable improvement they found in the study was a change in hoarding severity scale scores.

Also, a study 2019 that examined the effects of 16-week CBT sessions in people with hoarding disorder found changes in people’s self-reported impulsive behaviors.

CBT is frequently cited in the literature as a standard treatment to improve hoarding behaviors.

Cognitive rehabilitation and exposure/classification therapy

Cognitive Rehabilitation and Exposure/Classification Therapy (CREST) ​​​​is a cognitive therapy that helps people work on their executive functioning. It also uses exposure techniques to help people with problem hoarding behaviors deal with the distress surrounding letting go of objects and not acquiring new ones.

A study 2018 compared the treatment effects of CREST with a case management group and found a 38% decrease in hoarding symptoms among those in the CREST group. Individuals in the case management group reported a 25% decrease in symptoms. Both groups reported sustained treatment effects after 6 months.


No specific medications are used to treat the buildup, as more research is needed in this area. A 2014 study of a small sample of 24 participants found some effectiveness of extended release venlafaxine in the treatment of hoarding. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of hoarding.

Treatment Options for Depression

It is also important to seek treatment if you are experiencing depression along with hoarding. Treatments for depression involve both medication and psychotherapy.

If you think medication might help, a mental health professional can prescribe antidepressants. to get started antidepressants, it may be a good idea to talk openly and honestly with your health care professional about your history and current symptoms. They can answer questions and help you find the best options for you.

Psychotherapy for depression may include:

Looking for a therapist, but don’t know where to start? central psychiatry How to find mental health support resource can help.

If depression and hoarding are causing significant problems, or if you’re overwhelmed by mental health issues, treatment is the first step in finding relief.

You can find a licensed mental health professional who specializes in treating hoarding or find a therapist near you who provides helpful therapy for hoarding disorder.

You can find additional support for hoarding and depression by checking out these resources:

Also, hoarding cleanup offers a nationwide directory of professionals trained in hoarding behaviors, such as:

  • therapists
  • psychiatrists
  • cleaners

Remember, you are not alone. While the first step can be scary, it’s often worth it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.