Dr. David Tolin, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Anxiety Disorders Center at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, talks about his new book “Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving and Hoarding.” Below are some questions with answers provided by Tolin:
Explain the title of your latest book
“Buried in Treasures” refers to the fact that so many people with hoarding disorder consider their possessions to be important or valuable in some way; however, they collect and save these “treasures” to such an extent that the living spaces of the home become unusual—they get “buried.”
What are the signs of a true “hoarder” versus someone that likes to collect things?
Lots of people collect things, but that’s different from hoarding. Collectors usually take care of their possessions, and gain pleasure from looking at them or using them. They’re usually proud to show their collections to others. In hoarding, however, the person is saving for very different reasons, and they don’t care for their things or use them. So things just pile up in disarray.
Is it true hoarding is exasperated in the holiday season?
We definitely see that for some people with hoarding disorder, it gets harder to resist the urge to shop when they are bombarded with ads for good deals. For many, they are afraid of passing up an important opportunity — even if they don’t really need the object, or can’t afford it.
Since many hoarders use tangible objects in place of human love, do they look forward to the holiday excess?
Many people with hoarding disorder are socially isolated, lonely, and depressed. So the holidays don’t necessarily feel like a lot of fun for them.
What happens once the holidays end to a classic hoarder? Is that a high they are not on any longer?
There probably isn’t much of a high in the first place — rather, they are just now faced with an even bigger clutter problem, and increased financial burden.
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