Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010

When Frost and Steketee first started investigating hoarding, they figured they wouldn’t find very many cases. To their surprise, they found many. The items hoarded ranged from fine arts to new items still in the packages to old newspapers to animals to garbage. What drives people to amass things like this? And where does the line between collector and hoarder fall?

Hoarding was formerly thought to be part of OCD; Frost and Steketee feel it’s a separate disorder. While OCD and hoarding can co-occur, the majority of hoarders fail to show signs of OCD. This probably explains why OCD can successfully treated, while hoarding is much more resistant to treatment. Forced removal of the hoard, ala ‘Hoarders’, never works and merely increases the stress the hoarder feels.

The authors cite numerous cases from their practice to show their treatment methods; it’s a very interesting book that offers hope to hoarders (and their families). 

The above is an affiliate link. If you click on it and buy the book, Amazon gives me a few cents. 

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