Monday, December 6, 2010

Hoarding more than just a little clutter

By John Arthur Hutchison

It often starts with a little clutter.

But for some people, hoarding develops into a complex behavioral health problem that is more than just sloppy housekeeping or a messy garage, experts say.

As hoarding gets worse, navigating through the house can become virtually impossible because rooms and hallways are clogged.

"You see all ends of the spectrum when we get involved," said Nancy Niehus, director of environmental health services for the Lake County General Health District. "It's usually pretty bad, rooms are stacked from room to ceiling. They cover the windows because they are reclusive, doors are blocked and there is only one way to get in.

"We see things stacked up in the bathroom and shower and no longer accessible," Niehus added. "They'll stack things on the stove, so there is a lot of safety issues."

Click here to see the facts about hoarding.

Hoarding experts discuss the behavior

More than 170 people attended a conference Friday at the Radisson Hotel in Eastlake that featured two international experts on hoarding.

Designed to promote understanding about the behavior, the conference was sponsored by the Lake County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board and Lake County Council on Aging.

Featured speakers were Gail Steketee, dean and professor at Boston University School of Social Work, and Randy O. Frost, a professor of psychology at Smith College in Massachusetts..."
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