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In a recent Chicago Tribune feature by Alison Bowen, married couple Bec and Lee Shuer share the steps they took to manage Lee’s hoarding disorder. In the article, Lee discusses how hoarding impacted his life, and how with support from Bec, he was able to overcome his disorder, and eventually offer help to others.

When Bec and Lee Shuer were dating, she thought all of the stuff crammed into Lee’s house belonged to him and his roommates.

When they later moved into a studio apartment together in Massachusetts, she realized all of that stuff was Lee’s. Overflowing boxes, stacks of albums and games — the seemingly endless inventory filled not only their home but a storage unit and shed, as well.

Bec’s frustration mounted when, months into their marriage, she found herself climbing over piles of objects to access a kitchen gadget or get dressed for work. 

“I was losing myself,” she said. “I couldn’t access my hobbies, my love of cooking. My home was a misery for me.”

The Shuers attended the International OCD Foundation’s annual conference in Chicago last year to talk about hoarding, a disorder characterized by excessive accumulation and an almost paralyzing inability to get rid of possessions.

Read the full story on the Chicago Tribune website here.

8 Comments

  • Joyce peden

    Mu daughter needs help- she is a hoarder, her house is a terrible mess, her husband doesn’t, help- she has young children

    Reply
    • Alex Bahrawy

      Hello Joyce,

      Feel free to contact us directly at info@iocdf.org and we would be happy to help your daughter find some local resources.

      Reply
  • Hi, I’m a journalist–not a clinician–writing an article about hoarding. Would it be possible for someone within the organization to review my finished 700-word article, to be sure I’m covering the latest research and treatment options? It’s a huge responsibility that I take very seriously to get the right information out there.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Reply
    • Alex Bahrawy

      Hello Kristen,

      I’d recommend reaching out to our Communications Manager, Meghan Buco, who handles media requests on behalf of the Foundation. She can be reached at mbuco@iocdf.org.

      Reply
  • Lauren Hassing-Patterson

    My brother has struggled with mental illness for 50 years. In his adolescence it started with anxiety, then OCD and then Hoarding. He has been under treated, treatment resistant and medication resistant and has refused to let anyone in his home to help. I was not in touch with him for 10 years and he dramatically deteriorated and now his OCD is in charge. He will lose his home soon if something doesn’t change. I have tried to provide support for the last nine months and cannot keep it up. He is in the Kaiser system and is not able to navigate that system to get better. If anything the stress of trying to get help in the system is causing further distress. He has been on Adderral for 3 years) and is going through withdrawal symptoms as his Dr. will not prescribe it any longer. He was not weaned off of it and is not being medically supervised. He is on 5 mg of Lexapro (just started 2 months ago) and this is not a therapeutic dosage

    I would like to be provided with programs in our area for OCD and Hoarding.

    Thank you

    Reply
  • Lauren Hassing-Patterson

    So sorry, we are in the SF East Bay Area

    Reply
  • Vincent

    I fear losing things most of which are insignificant any information or idea about that

    Reply

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