We’ve seen the shows dedicated to shed light on hoarding, but the excessive media surrounding the disorder may not be accomplishing what the shows set their mission statements out to. As we are aware, the layout of the show and basic idea of airing astonishing homes that are victims of hoarding is to “help” those featured. In this generation, people are highly susceptible to what they see on their television sets. So, is the exposure of hoarding dangerous for the American population?
This week in Staten Island a home was ablaze putting almost 70 small dogs in danger. There were no injuries so far reported in the house that held one family. It seem that everyone found a little bit of luck that night. The home was essentially full with small dogs and garbage, so the fact that they were able to escape to safety is something to be gracious for.
The Mayo Clinic describes hoarding as the following:
“Hoarding is the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them. Hoarding often crates such cramped living conditions that homes may be filled to capacity, with only narrow pathways winding through stacks of clutter. Some people also collect animals, keeping dozers or hundreds of pets often in unsanitary conditions.
Hoarding, also called compulsive hoarding and compulsive hording syndrome, may be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). But many people who hoard don’t have other OCD-related symptoms.
People who hoard often don’t see it as a problem, making treatment challenging. But intensive treatment can help people who hoard understand their compulsions and liver safer, more enjoyable lives.”
It is unclear what causes people to hoard. They might not like throwing things out, or feel the objects hold memories and don’t want to let go. Either way, the physiological reason of the act has been undetermined. Hoarding could effect anyone at any age, most originating around age 13 on average. At any age, regardless, you could start small with pictures, postcards, and small nick nacks, and end up with an empire making your home near unlivable. Most cases start with the victim collecting random things for years, such as broken toys.
People have also been introduced to hoarding by stressful life events or substance abuse. In more extreme cases, people subdue entirely to isolating themselves from any social activities, including family gatherings.
The part of the story we are guided to focus on is the happy ending if any horrific event had occurred to them in the past, instead of the horrific event in its own. So are we being exposed to the wrong side of hoarding in seeing their success instead of their dangerous feats?
The shows that tell us about hoarding and their featured guest’s story of struggle and defeat might not hit home amongst viewers already on the path to hoarding. The glorification of Hollywood makes the warnings it yields hazy and almost puts a safety blanket over the risks of hoarding. Not only is the victim in psychological, emotional, and physical danger, the fire dangers incorporated with hoarding effect people all around them. Families, neighbors, animals, and their communities are in harm.
No doubt ratings and storylines in reality play a part in the reasoning of why what we see is what makes the cut. We see bad, but as I said, they guide us to see what has been given to these victims by those around them and the success story they may have that shortly followed. Many hoarders have encountered their problems with their obsession. Judgment from family and friends, as well as the mental stress extended upon themselves.
Preventative measures vary by each person dealing with a hoarding problem as many factors contribute to why they may be hoarding. Family involvement could be the most effective method as it is with other like complicated diseases. In the majority of cases, their families introduce people being featured on hoarding shows to the producers. If the show contributes to their success and focuses on that only, it makes the image of hoarding blurred. It is a very serious issue that is indeed dangerous. So as we expose the happiness at the feat of hoarding, we hide all the troubles. We need to be exposing all of the dangers of hoarding to Americans to contribute to preventative methods.
By: Jodi Phillips