Ever since A&E thrust hoarders into the limelight, audiences have been captivated. The season 5 premiere attracted 2.4 million viewers – an increase of 60% over the previous season. So what is it about Hoarders that keep us captivated? Is it the shock value? Or as one blogger puts it, do we see a little bit of ourselves in each of these hoarders?
Could it simply be that Hoarders is fascinating because few people understand hoarding disorder?
That’s what we’re going with. We believe one of the draws of the show is that people simply can’t understand hoarding. It’s perplexing. How can the people on the show function in their day to day life, many holding down a full-time job, while their living conditions are so bad. How do their family members and friends not notice? And most commonly asked, how did they let things get that bad?
And it makes sense that viewers would be perplexed. The average person has very little personal experience with hoarders. Hoarders are relatively rare and one of the trademarks of the disorder is a deep shame at the condition of your house which leads to social isolation. For these reasons, most people don’t know a hoarder personally and those who do, probably won’t know they know one.
Fortunately, there are tons of great online resources that can help educate people about hoarding disorders. Here are some of our favorites…
Is It Normal to Hoard?
This great article tries to answer a simple question (is it normal to hoard?) by answering other questions such as: Is there an evolutionary benefit to hoarding? Are hoarder’s brains different than non-hoarders? Why do animals hoard? It’s an interesting, easy to understand look at the scientific research behind hoarding.
Dirty Secret: A Daughter Comes Clean about Her Mother’s Compulsive Hoarding
The show Hoarders does a great job of portraying the stressed relationship many hoarders have with their children. Dirty Secret does a great job of portraying this relationship from the point of view of a child of a hoarder. From the embarrassment she felt as a child to the shame she felt when she contracted bugs from her mother’s how to the sense of duty she feels to help her mother, Jessie Sholl does a great job of taking us inside the emotional rollercoaster many children of hoarders feel.
The book can be purchased on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.
The Dirty, Stinking Truth About Real-Life Hoarders
As an Austin waste management company, we’re frequently asked if real life hoards are as bad as the ones show on TV. To answer that question, we’re just going to refer you to this article by the Huffington Post that shows several photos of real life hoards. WARNING: THESE ARE GRAPHIC!
Read the article here: http://m.nautil.us/issue/10/mergers–acquisitions/is-it-normal-to-hoard
Hopefully, these articles provide a little insight into the minds of hoarders.