Life Advice



Hoarding disorder creates messy situation

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I'm willing to have someone go in and help her clean, but this will happen again (as it has before), if we don't get to the root of the issue.

Kelsie is not proactive in taking care of herself.

What are your suggestions?

-- Needs an Intervention

Dear Intervention: According to a 2011 study, approximately 3 percent to 5 percent of Americans have a hoarding disorder. Increased awareness of hoarding through media reports has probably been a good thing, because you understand that this is not a character flaw -- your daughter needs treatment. Her behavior might be linked to anxiety, depression, or OCD. You are correct that the problem will not be solved by hiring a cleaner, and will likely get worse over time.

Yes, speak to her in person. Be gentle and compassionate. Understand that this conversation will cause her a lot of anxiety. I've read that cognitive behavioral therapy -- through "exposure therapy" -- might help. This is where a person is coached to confront the physical reality of their hoarding with the intensive help of a therapist. It would require her ongoing determination to work toward recovery.


You won't be able to handle this from a distance. But your compassion and concern may inspire her to agree to seek help, and you could assist her in finding the right practitioner close to where she lives.

I have to add that if the conditions in her home are dangerous/unsafe/unhealthy for her cat (she may have more than one), you should report it. I know this would be very hard to do, but your daughter has the tools to try to improve or change her situation if she chooses. A defenseless animal, however, does not.

Dear Amy: I'm conflicted about whether I should leave a Glassdoor review for my former employer, "Company X."

I wish someone had warned me away from ever working there.


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