Sunday, May 16, 2010

64 - Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things; Frost and Steketee















I'm a "tosser" not a "hoarder", but ever since I read about the highly publicized Collyer brothers, and began watching the television series, Hoarders, I've been interested in learning more about the subject.

What triggers someone to become a hoarder? When does collecting, become hoarding? In STUFF: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, Randy Frost and Gail Steketee, share their expertise on the subject. They were the first psychologists to specialize in hoarding behavior. Having spent many years working with hundreds individuals suffering with this often puzzling psychological disorder, that effects nearly six million individuals. Using various case studies spanning years of field work, and drawing upon various case studies, the reader is able to gain more insight about hoarders.

Some theorists believe that some individuals with social anxiety disorders tend to form attachments to objects instead of people. It can begin as early as childhood, but often fully materializes in adulthood. Some of the tendencies of hoarders include: compulsive buying or acquiring of items, including free things; saving and never tossing anything, and no organization to the accumulated "stuff". I found it interesting to learn that hoarding tendencies are more prevalent in individuals who suffer from depression, impulse control disorders (compulsive spenders), autism, obsessive compulsive disorders(OCD), and attention deficit (ADHD) disorders. Many people who have hoarding issues cannot deal with the thought of anything being wasted or tossed. Most objects that they keep have vivid memories attached to them for the hoarder. For a non hoarder, hearing about these memories might be perceived as insignificant or downright silly. Hoarders truly fear for the loss of these memories if they no longer possessed the object.

Another area of hoarding discussed, that is even less understood, involves animal hoarders. "Most animal hoarders experienced neglectful, abusive, and/or chaotic childhood in which rules were absent or hopelessly inconsistent".

While this book is very informative and well written, I found it to be more of a resource/reference guide, for those that want to learn more about this disorder, or to help others with who have this problem. If you are interested in learning more about "hoarders", then this book might be a good place for you to begin.
RECOMMENDED  - 4/5 stars (Review Copy)

21 comments:

  1. This sounds very interesting, Diane. I've known a few "pack rats" and always wondered about their behavior. Terrific review! :)

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  2. Wow, I had no idea that there are 6 million hoarders. I bet this book is interesting.

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  3. I have watched the show a few times and am amazed as to how people can live like that.
    CMash

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  4. I am not surprised to hear there is a link between hoarding (at the most extreme level) and mental illness. I'm sure this is interesting reading in a sad sort of way.

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  5. I love the show and feel so bad for these people because I know they just can't help themselves!! Makes you look at houses as you pass them a bit differently doesn't it???

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  6. I'm fascinated with this topic as well so I should def. should check out this book!! Great review :)

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  7. I didnt know lots of things either about hoarding. I like to hoard but at the same time I toss quite a bit of stuff. What is my category?

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  8. Interesting book, Diane! Since I'm reading a lot on materials related to the disorders you've mentioned, I feel I need to include this as well. Thank you for the review!

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  9. This book sounds very interesting to me; I, too, have watched the program and have found it interesting that many hoarders had a death or some other family crisis that served as the "tipping point" to their condition. I will check this one out from the library. Thanks!

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  10. Yes, an interesting review. Most of us know at least one hoarder. One I know collected enough themed memorabilia to create quite a coveted collection.

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  11. What an interesting subject. I love my "stuff" but I wouldn't say I'm a hoarder because I love a good clean out. I do, however, have OCD and need for stuff to be in order. Strict order. I wonder what they'd make of that...

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  12. Sometimes I wonder if my book collecting verges on hoarding, but I do like to keep things organized and often cull the herd, so I am not sure. I also wonder if other bookies feel the same way. This sounds like a terrific book with lots of useful information. I will have to seek it out. Oops! There I go again!! Great review!

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  13. I'm an average hoarder, I think I get it from my mom. I've been working on keeping it under control, so I'm not obsessive about it! Some of my hoarding tendencies spread to my online life too. LOL! Looks like this is a book for me!

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  14. I go through periods of being a bit of a pack rat and then times of gotta toss everything out! Sounds like a very interesting book.

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  15. Mystica, Paige and Heather...If you can and do toss, you are not a "hoarder"..not to worry!

    Annie Joy...You are so correct, "many hoarders had a death or some other family crisis that served as the "tipping point" to their condition."

    Aths and Paige....OCD without the hoarding is a whole other thing.

    I love my books, (650++ last count), but after I read them, I don't have a problem getting rid of them, I guess I am not a hoarder.

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  16. This book has caught my eye - it does sound very interesting!

    To look at my desk right now, you'd like I was a hoarder, but it's just in need of a good tidying.

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  17. what if you form attachments to neither people nor things?

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  18. I'm a perpetual de-junker. Love the way it clears my mind and space. Does that mean I'm not attached to people or things :)

    The world of hoarding truly mystifies me. Only once have I wished I kept something -- and that was for a Halloween costume, so not a huge deal.

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  19. Caite....LOL, sometimes I feel like that too, and feel I relate best to animal :)

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  20. This sounds like an interesting read. Both my parents are pack rats, although I don't think they qualify as hoarders (where is the line drawn though?). It's a tendency I have myself (too many books, too many papers of various kinds), so I'd be curious to read this book!

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  21. Avis...you make an interesting point. I think my husband is a bit of a "pack rat", he saves things he'll never use, or probably will never look at again, but avoids trashing this stuff of his in our basement.

    I think most people would find this book interesting reading; try it.

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