An Ethnocentric Twist on Hoarding
September 24, 2010, 04:03 AM
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Evicted Hoarder in SombreroHoarding is breaking out all over these days. Beyond the almost daily news story of a hoarder buried under his own stuff, it's also the focus of an A&E series.

The phenomenon is probably some kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

I wonder if there's an evolutionary basis: up to a point, it might be logical to store items away for later use. A caveman who "hoarded" animal skins, spears or kindling might survive longer than one who didn't. But clearly, as with the "your hands are not clean" message firing repeatedly in the head of an obsessive hand-washer, the neural pathways of hoarders are stuck.

This psychiatrist suggests that you can break yourself of obsession-compulsive behavior by literally forcing changes inside the physical makeup of your brain.

For hoarders, that would probably mean throwing out one or two items at first, warming up to the idea, and then disciplining yourself to keep throwing stuff out.

I would guess that most hoarders (especially animal hoarders) are white, but there is the occasional non-white sufferer. Here's one out of D.C—a woman, who when her possessions were put out in the street during an eviction, had them not in the usual heap by the curb, but "piled up on both sides of her street and a block down another."

DC Woman Evicted From Home Was A Hoarder
Updated: Thursday, 23 Sep 2010, 8:18 AM EDT Published : Thursday, 23 Sep 2010, 7:58 AM EDT

By Sherri Ly/myfoxdc

She claimed that she was going to send the stuff to the "poor in Venezuela." Really? With an abundance of poor blacks right there in your own city?

An ethnocentric hoarder. Only in the Empire of America.