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A&E's Obsessed Explores Extreme Hoarding

A&E's Obsessed Explores Extreme Hoarding

Do you have a slight problem with being messy? This week's A&E’s Obsessed, in its exploration of the obsessive compulsive disorder extreme hoarding, will have you cleaning up your apartment or desk and feeling for poor Russ, who can't stop buying things and also can't bear to throw anything away. "I get attached to things," he says, "because I don't have people to care about."

As a result, Russ's apartment is packed to the gills with furniture, mattresses, antiques, and tchotchkes that literally keep him from getting past his front door. In fact, he admits he's slept in front of it before because he couldn't get past his junk. He sometimes even sleeps outside, where he says there's at least fresh air and no feeling of claustrophobia. To find about Russ and extreme hoarding,

Why would someone accumulate so much stuff that his home becomes uninhabitable and unfit for guests? According to Russ's cognitive behavioral therapist, a hoarder cannot distinguish the level of an object's importance with respect to other objects. Everything is important, everything imbued with sentimental value, everything may be something the hoarder will need in the future.

In Russ's case, losing his mother was the trigger for his hoarding. "When I touch or hold a keepsake," he says, "it's like being held nearby her." But we're not just talking about photos of his mother or things she owned. Russ struggles with his therapist to throw away a dime store Santa figurine because it's wearing a purple scarf — his mother's favorite color.

Lucky for Russ, he has a great therapist and the true desire to let go of these objects and their relation to his losses so that he can clear the way for a new life.

Join The Conversation
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
My ex bf was a hoarder. He saved everything from bread ties to extra napkins from burger king. He couldn't resist anything that was free. He would constantly take fliers from street vendors or free newspapers and bring them home and tuck them away somewhere. If someone was giving something away he couldn't resist taking it even if it was obviously junk. I would find weird things in even weirder places and he had a reason for keeping everything. When I had to clean out our apartment after he abandoned it, leaving all of his things behind, it was terrible. There was so much junk he had accumulated shoved into backpacks and shopping bags. I even found some of my belongings among his stashes. He had prayer cards from my grandparents and my brothers friend's funerals hidden in a pocket of a briefcase among other slips of paper. They had been in my desk drawer. It was quite disturbing, but then again he is a very disturbed individual.
PirateKitty PirateKitty 8 years
aw we have family friends like this, i could never go over to play with their (3!) kids. the whole family lived there, it looked just like the video of that man and in a tiny house.
cakeshinigami cakeshinigami 8 years
my mom was a hoarder, mostly kept papers. boxes and boxes of newspapers and school papers and all kinds of junk. its hard for me to feel any sympathy for hoarders.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
That must be so hard to experience. I can imagine who debilitating having an issue like that is. When I was a kid, I was very attached to a few objects, and even after my mom would tell me it wasn't usable anymore, I didn't use it, maybe it was time to get rid of it, I refused. I got older and the things meant less because I didn't associate a good feeling or a person with them as much as I did before. But being an adult and still having that feeling would be so frustrating and so saddening.
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