Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hot Topics: Hoarding

MacKay, Jenny. Hot Topics: Hoarding. Detroit: Lucent Books, 2012. Print.

My Thoughts
I ordered several books in this Hot Topics series. I was a little disappointed in the depth of coverage (there are only 5 chapters and less than 100 pages). However, I did learn some things about hoarding. This is a very broad mental illness (the specialists can't agree on what umbrella is even falls under), and that it can be genetically passed down from one generation to another. WHAT!? I assumed it was an environmental passing down having nothing to do with a DNA gene pool.

The shows about hoarding obviously are seeking out the most horrifying examples and try to "fix" everything within a program. This is not realistic. The book explains that there are varying degrees of hoarding. Some hoarders are actually very neat and tidy people, but they cannot get rid of things. Extreme hoarders live in houses filled to the top, even blocking exits.

One question asked is whether or not hoarding is a crime. When is having too much stuff a hindrance or illegal? Is it the government's role to intervene when a home becomes unlivable? What about when the hoarder has animals instead of just stuff?

One chapter is devoted to explain the many reasons why people hoard. It is interesting to me that sometimes it is a traumatic event that leads to hoarding behavior, but it is not the only reason. Some hoarders are very detail oriented. "Many hoarders are crafty or artistic" and collect things to use later (MacKay 46). Some hoarders collect information and are in "a constant need to feel prepared" (MacKay 47). I was startled by these examples. I don't think of myself as a hoarder because of my connotation with this word. However, with these reasons, I saw myself.

There was an entire chapter devoted to the treatment for hoarding, even though it really is a case by case treatment plan. "The problem is must more complicated than merely being untidy or disorganized" (MacKay 76). This is why the 40 minute shows are misleading. The treatment often needs to be slower and take more time than just cleaning out a space.

This book was a quick, informative read.

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