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Mentality to amass might be disorder


After a series of court actions and forced cleanups, Vernon Neil Winder continues to pile up his property with junk. It is a pattern of behavior many find hard to understand.

"It's crazy," Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis said of Winder's actions, when briefed on the subject Tuesday.

"Obsessive compulsive hoarding is the official diagnosis," said Susan Becker, Ph.D., a professor of psychology with Mesa State College.

"It is an anxiety disorder," she said. "It becomes part of the fear; they can't get rid of stuff because it is too scary. They might need it, and if their alternative is having a panic attack, which is similar to having a heart attack, you'd hoard stuff too."

Becker, who offered her diagnosis in general terms, not specifically referring to Winder, said the disorder is tough to cure conventionally.

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