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Hoarding is a mental health disorder. It is not caused by laziness, lack of standards, or lack of responsibility. It's often characterized by low insight: others are more aware of the difficulty than the individual him or herself. 92% of individuals who hoard have one or more other mental health disorders such as depression, generalized anxiety, obsessive obsessive -compulsive disorder, and social phobia.
Hoarding is defined as: when a person collects a large number of items that appear useless. These items clutter one’s living space and make it hard to use rooms as intended. The Items cause distress in daily activities. These are also signs of hoarding disorder:
-Difficulty getting rid of items and trouble with organization
-Strong feeling that these items will be needed at one point
-Sentimental attachment to items
Being the family member or friend of a hoarder can be challenging. It is difficult to know the right things to say and how best to help a loved one who experiences compulsive hoarding disorder.
On The Point, we hear some helpful tips from pour panel of mental health experts on the point.
With us, our panel of Psychiatrist Marc Whaley, Psychiatrist Jonathan Schwartz, and Social worker Jenny Putnam. Also we welcome Denise Egan Stack back on the show. She is on the International OCD Foundation Board of Directors and the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board. She has treated people with OCD and related disorders for over twenty five years, was a founding staff member of the McLean Hospital OCD Institute in 1997, and has served as the mental health consultant for the Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force for over 10 years.
Here is a link to the Cape Cod Hoarding Task Force for more info.

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Mindy Todd is the host and producer of <i>The Point</i> on WCAI which examines critical issues for Cape Cod and the Islands. She brings more than 40 years of experience in radio and television to WCAI.