After helping countless hoarders dig their way out of the mountains of trash and junk, a psychologist thought she had seen it all – until she met a woman with a bizarre obsession with mortuaries.
"I recently went to a home where the woman was a dumpster-diver into every trash can in a small town, to the point where they had to put locks on them to keep her out," explained Dr. Becky Beaton, psychologist and clinical expert on TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview.
"She would do it at a funeral home and gather pads that were used for cadavers to absorb the fluids and was bringing them home and putting them on the floor so that the dog could go to the bathroom on them – it was disgusting!" revealed Dr. Beaton, as she described her worst case to date.
Like many sufferers, a lot of times there are mental illnesses that accompany the hoarding. In this case, "she was bipolar and it had gone on for so long that she had become disillusioned."
When it comes to treating the condition, experts have to treat both the desire to hoard and prevent them from repeating their dysfunctional behavior. "You have to teach them not to acquire things, then you have to help them with the anxiety of letting go, then you also need to find out if they need ongoing therapy and medication," explained the psychologist.
The grisly funeral home experience came hot on the heels of Las Vegas resident, Kenneth Epstein, who has been dubbed the hoarder from hell after authorities spent eight days clearing out his house that was stuffed from floor to ceiling.
Buried in the macabre mass was a total of 55 cats, including 15 that were already dead, reported MyNews3.com.
The 55-year-old Sun City Summerlin man appeared in court for the first time on Monday via video screening facing six misdemeanor counts - including creating a public nuisance - and violating the city's fire code. The judge also ordered Epstein to stay 100 feet away from the home and not keep any pets.
Epstein was taken into custody last week after family members revealed fears that he would try and return to his dilapidated house during the fumigation process.
Dr. Beaton revealed that there is a high risk of sufferers falling back into their old patterns. "You have to expect relapse and then when they do, get back on the wagon again," she said.