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)