Those battling obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and in particular a problem with hoarding, are driven by what one psychologist has called “the allure of opportunity”.
According to Randy Frost, a psychologist who has conducted much research on hoarding, claimed that it is the potential or prospective use of an item that drives hoarders to store it.
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He spoke to a writer for the NYTimes.com, Carina Chocano, about his thoughts. According to Chocano, who interviewed Frost, when in full flight, a “kind of magical thinking takes hold” of hoarders.
She said: “What appeals is the idea that something – anything – of value lurks beneath the surface, a surface that looks to everybody else like a giant pile of junk.”
Furthermore, once they have purchased and stored an item, hoarders will take a fairytale-like approach to it, causing items to feel like “externalized parts of themselves.” If they got rid of these items, they’d feel like all their hopes and dreams had coming crashing down, Chocano added.
However the only real way to overcome hoarding is to undergo therapy and do a complete house clearance, so hoarders sometimes have to confront these very real fears face on.
The writer concluded by stating that hoarders also need to overcome their impulsive nature in order to combat their symptoms.
Helpful OCD & Hoarding Links
British charity provides information on OCD and related conditions, as well on therapy and treatment resources. Also lists support groups throughout UK.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive activity.