Close Encounters of the Hoarding Kind - Page 2
At the time, I had no idea that Susie was displaying typical compulsive hoarding behaviors. In fact, I am not sure that disposophobia was a well-known term in the 80's. But it is now. From the many resources on this topic, it is clear that compulsive hoarding is considered a mental disorder that is based on an obsessive need to acquire (and by definition, an inability to discard) possessions - whether they are valuable, useful, unsanitary or hazardous.
The Colleyer brothers - well-off members of New York's elite, in the early 1900's, it was not until 1947, when a neighbor called police complaining of a pungent odor that they discovered Homer Collyer's corpse amid tons of junk, including an early X-ray machine, the jawbone of a horse and bundles upon bundles of old newspapers.
Edith Bouvier Beale and her mother, Edith Ewing Bouvier, relatives of Jackie Onasis were holed up in a mansion where only three of the 28 rooms were lived in. The rest were devoted to hundreds of cats, possums and raccoons.
Edmund Trebus was a famous British figure featured in the documentary, Life of Grime. His Victorian home was filled with window frames, motorbikes, scaffolding poles, tree-trunks, For Sale signs (complete with posts), fridge-freezers, even a mortuary table.
Here is what I have learnt about Susie and the many other afflicted with compulsive hoarding.
The origin of the word disposophobia literally means 'fear of giving away or throwing away or selling'.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "Hoarding often creates 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 dozens or hundreds of pets in unsanitary conditions."
Compulsive Hoarding (Disposophobia) affects approximately 3 million Americans across the United States. However, most sites that quote statistics on Disposophobia, state that the numbers are probably much higher but because many hoarders do not ask for help, coupled by the associated embarrassment and anxiety of letting others into their home, this number is probably much higher.
Those with compulsive hoarding tend to have higher levels of education, are often single and often their hoarding behavior begins in childhood or adolescence, but may not become a problem until adult life.