The Buried Secretes of Hoarders; the Case Study of Roberta Josephine

Topics: Compulsive hoarding, Obsessive–compulsive disorder, Decision making Pages: 7 (2049 words) Published: January 22, 2013
The Buried Secretes 2

The Buried Secretes of Hoarders;
The Case Study of Roberta Josephine

Nestled in a modest white colonial home in Maine, Roberta Josephine age 53, lives a very lonely life. She has raised two marvelous boys to adulthood, Shon age 30 and Gauge age 33. Roberta has been married once but presently lives alone. Her belongings have pushed her entire family away. She suffers from what is thought to be a subtype of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD) known as Hoarding.

It is unclear what specifically causes hoarding, Psychologists are not even sure if it fits under the OCD umbrella or is appropriately labeled, this is yet to be determined. There are several reasons that hoarding may not fit the OCD category. Unlike most people with OCD, hoarders do not usually seek help unless necessary. Also, people with a hoarding problem most likely have cognitive issues(the ability to categorize and decision making skills), and the treatment is not the same for OCD patients as it is with hoarding. Research has also shown that most hoarders do not display many of the common deifying symptoms of OCD, but often display some symptoms of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(Down with).

Therefore you just might see Hoarding renamed in the next version of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or DSM(Hoarding OCD/Anxiety). Some Psychologists believe that upbringing as well as some genetic links trigger the compulsive behavior, along with any traumatic life event(Hoarding).

Roberta‘s home is a four bedroom, two bath, two story house with no room. There are

The Buried secretes 3

piles on top of piles of newspapers, bottles, rotten foods, boxes, furniture, and clothes. The smell is atrocious, and there are small rodents boring through the walls to get to the rotten piles of trash. There are things in that house that have long been forgotten, and impose a serious health hazard for Roberta. You can no longer see the floors, or most of the walls, and you can touch the ceilings on your pass through the house. The path is like scaling a mountain just waiting for an avalanche caused by one wrong step, it could be deadly. Roberta has a strong attachment to these material objects even though most of them are garbage. She continually addes to the piles daily and simply can not help herself.

How is it possible to live in such disarray?
The condition known as Hoarding is defined as the continual excessive acquiring of possessions, even if the items are worthless, unsanitary, and hazardous. This condition interferes with the basic activities of daily life; family, hygiene, sleeping ,cooking and mobility(Hoarding).

Like Roberta, most hoarders do not know or admit to having a problem. According to an article by the MFMER or the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, the symptoms of Hoarding usually include: living spaces that are extremely cluttered

Inability to throw out or recycle items
Keeping many stacks of old newspapers, magazines or junk mail Moving items from pile to pile, without actually throwing anything out Acquiring a lot of unneeded or useless items, including trash, even foods Difficulty performing activities of daily life, including putting chores off and trouble making decisions about items No or little organization of items

Neglect of responsibility of home upkeep
Excessive attachment to items, discomfort and anxiety letting other people touch or borrow possessions Lonely, little or no social interactions including family(Hoarding)

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Although Roberta suffers from nearly all of these symptoms she is in denial, most of her family does not even know the severity of her growing condition. She has created isolation so that no one can pass judgment on her living conditions. She is unable to find the shower or sink to bath under such a mess. Roberta uses baby wipes to clean herself. She...
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