Kamis, 07 Februari 2008

Delta Burke in psychiatric hospital for depression & compulsive hoarding

TMZ is reporting that “Designing Women” actress Delta Burke, 51, has checked herself into a psychiatric hospital for treatment of severe depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and hoarding. TMZ has a clip on their website of Burke’s description of why she decided to check herself into a facility and what mental issues she’s dealing with. Delta talks about trying to get her various medications worked out - which can be an arduous process for people who are only on two prescriptions - and she's on five. She also mentions that she was as bad as those people you see on television who have stacks of newspapers piled to the ceiling.

The former Designing Women star, 51, is apparently seeking treatment for symptoms of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and "hoarding" which on an audio clip provided by TMZ she is heard likening to what is seen in the homes of people who have stockpiled row upon row of newspapers.

"I was on so many medications and they just weren't working," Burke is also heard saying on the clip. "I was on five." Among them, she says are "anti-depressants and stuff."

[From People]

I really commend Delta for recognizing she has a problem, needs help, and taking action to get it. I can’t imagine anything that would be more frightening than checking into a psychiatric facility. And I would expect that things must have gotten pretty bad for her to do that. Most people know the basics of depression, but few know about hoarding. Wikipedia defines hoarding as:

Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding) is extreme hoarding behaviour in humans. It involves the collection and/or failure to discard large numbers of objects even when their storage causes significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities such as moving around the house, cooking, cleaning, showering or sleeping. Hoarding rubbish may be referred to as syllogomania. A slang term for a compulsive hoarder is pack rat or packrat.

[From Wikipedia]

I dated someone who was a terrible hoarder, and it was truly the most frustrating experience of my life. It was so aggravating to have talks about keeping things clean and normal looking, and then find a box filled with nothing but Styrofoam - just because why throw it out? I would find broken toys, pieces of garbage, Denny’s place mats, empty bottles of Orbitz soda from 1996 (“Because someday it might be worth something!) all carefully hidden to avoid detection. It was really frustrating because he didn’t recognize that it was a problem and was abnormal, unhealthy behavior.

Click here for a great example of a clutter scale. This was put together by psychologists as an example of different levels of hoarding. When you go through picture by picture, you'll notice a few are out of order, but you can get the idea by looking at the image that shows all the pictures as a whole.

Hoaders often have to make pathways through the crap in their own homes. I was in a home several times that was occupied by an entire family of hoarders. They literally had piles of papers stacked to the ceilings, bags of garbage, dirty blankets, etc. All that bric-a-brac you see people getting rid of at garage sales was stuffed into this house. It basically looked like a Value Village run amok. Everything was old, dingy, and useless.

In an extreme, hoarders can literally save so many things that they are forced to move out of their own homes. They actually choose to do that instead of getting rid of things. Apparently throwing anything away induces a sense of panic. Several studies have shown that hoarding is closely related to obsessive compulsive disorder. A 2004 University of Iowa study found that damage to the brain’s right mesial prefrontal cortex tends to cause compulsive hoarding. The thought is that the part of the brain that helps discern what stuff is and is not important does not function properly in hoarders. Thus they’re not able to logically and rationally determine that saving a napkin from Burger King is less important than saving a monogrammed napkin from your wedding. It really is a miserable and overwhelming way to live. Let’s hope Delta gets good treatment and her issues under control.

Picture Note by JayBird: Here's a few pictures of rooms in hoarder's homes.

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