Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hoarders get mired in clutter, unhealthy living environments

Disorder often keeps sufferers from seeing danger of habits


It had been years since either child slept in his own bed. There was no space for them. The boys' room was so crammed with stuff that the bunk bed on the back wall was barely reachable. The bed itself was buried underneath myriad miscellaneous items such as linens, stuffed animals, clothes and backpacks.

But this wasn't a case of messy adolescents. It was a mother's hoarding disorder that left the bedroom — and the rest of the house — in a state of squalor. Only when Child Protective Services took the boys — Louis, 14, and Sam, 11 — away for 24 hours did their mom, Deborah, realize the severity of her problem.

The 49-year-old Tennessean, whose story was featured on the Jan. 4 episode of A&E's Hoarders, went public, using the show to receive the help of a therapist and organizing expert in an effort to keep her family together. The show does not disclose last names.

"I am tired of being ashamed," Deborah said in the January episode. "I am tired of being a prisoner to my home. It affects everything in my life.".." More