Q: Is the media’s coverage of hoarding normalizing the behavior in a way that would prevent one from getting help?.

A: Interesting question. Culture can play a role in many disorders. Regarding hoarding specifically, many people who hoard don’t have great insight into their own hoarding behaviors. Hence, a person with hoarding disorder might see a television program on the topic of hoarding and not see a parallel between what they’re watching and their own hoarding behaviors.

The person might think “I am not that bad”, or he/she might ignore all the similarities between his/her hoarding practices and what he/she is watching on television. The person might reference only the most severe part of the other person’s behavior and not identify with it.

Many people who hoard, in their world, believe their items are valuable, so it is hard for them to see through the eyes of others who see keeping the items as a problem. Lastly, while hoarding is popularly portrayed in media and culture today, it’s not portrayed as a desirable way of being.

If one did identify himself/herself as a hoarder based on a media program, perhaps he or she would be more likely to reach out for help.

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