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Excerpt From 'Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things'

Irene was apologetic to the point of tears about her situation. Her husband had just left her because of the clutter. She had no money. She was afraid her children would be taken away because of the condition of her home if her husband were to petition for custody. Her daughter had developed severe dust allergies, making it difficult for her to stay in the house. Irene recognized that she had a problem and needed to do something about it. Some people who hoard never have lucid moments about their habits, so Irene was fortunate in this respect. She at least had what psychiatrists and psychologists call “insight” into the irrationality of her hoarding behavior. Yet despite having insight when talking generally about her problem, when trying to decide whether to discard a five-year-old newspaper, she could not see the absurdity of keeping it. … Back to Article

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