Thursday, October 8, 2009

Psychologists Offer Some Hope for Treating Hoarding

By: Ryan Duffy / Ann Butler

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- When 72-year-old Carina DeOcampo's body was found earlier this week, it was under a pile of trash and other debris that she had collected in her home.

Her story is tragic, but it offers a glimpse into the unusual behavior known as hoarding.

"We all have a need to store for future use, (but) this is to an extreme level," says UNF psychologist Gabriel Ybarra.

Ybarra has treated patients who hoard; he said they try to save everything, trying to be prepared for things they think could happen in the future.

Hoarding brings them temporary relief. "The payoff is momentary so five minutes later I feel that anxiety build up again until I have another act of storage," Ybarra said.

With counseling and medication, he has seen patients who hoard improve.

Police said inside DeOcampo's house, the trash and debris were piled 5 feet high. Family members talked to her at the house Sunday and regularly chatted with her by phone, they said..." More & video