I’m a featured expert in an Everyday Health panel discussion about OCD and hoarding. You’ll find the full discussion here. While you’re there, check out the site–Everyday Health is a comprehensive health-oriented online community that seeks to provide sometimes complicated information in an accessible, user-friendly format.
Sneak preview: My answers to two of the ten questions:
Is hoarding always a bad thing?
Hoarding is a coping mechanism: The behavior helps the person to cope with something. In that sense, it’s not a bad thing. The problem is that hoarding usually becomes a “maladaptive” coping mechanism, meaning it doesn’t work and it causes the person even more trouble over time. As with any maladaptive coping mechanism, the more it is used, the less opportunity the person has to develop healthier ways to deal with pain or new challenges. Eventually, acquiring and hoarding become the reaction to every stressor in the person’s life, and the habits themselves become stressors.
Do reality TV shows accurately portray hoarding?
No, they are not accurate. I call them … [dramatic pause ... click here for the rest of the answer ].