Monday, November 2, 2009

Hoarding conference in S.F.

June D. Bell

"...The rest of the country seems to be catching up to the Bay Area's awareness about hoarding. Viewers can watch A&E's "Hoarders," which shows cringe-inducing landscapes of rotten food and encroaching clutter.

And E.L. Doctorow's new book, "The Collyer Brothers: A Collective Obsession," delves into the minds and hearts of Homer and Langley Collyer, the country's most famous hoarders. The brothers were found dead in 1947 among 130 rat-infested tons of debris they amassed in their Harlem home.

Everyone deals with clutter, but most people can toss what they don't want or need. For hoarders, however, even contemplating discarding an item can trigger overwhelming feelings of anxiety and grief. Some, like Kotakis, become paralyzed by a perfectionist's need to fully use each item before letting it go.

Research on compulsive hoarding is still in its infancy. It was initially considered to be a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. But no more than 20 percent of hoarders have OCD symptoms, Frost said..." More