Hoarding a huge problem in Delaware
By Amy Cherry

Updated Monday, November 4, 2013 - 2:11pm

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VIDEO: WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

"Addressing the Mess," that's the name of a symposium on hoarding at Christiana Hospital that brought a national television star to Delaware Monday.

WDEL's Amy Cherry was there.

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"It's almost like a bomb went off there."

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The pictures are horrifying -- stuff piled from floor to ceiling making it hard to get around, bugs, rats, feces, and sometimes hundreds of animals. That's home of a hoarder.

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Cory Chalmers, host of A&E's "Hoarders," says 45,000 Delawareans are hoarders.

"We work with a lot of people in Delaware, Pennsylvania, this whole area. It's a very common area for hoarding, not sure what the tie is, but it seems like we even have more here than we do the rest of the country," says Chalmers.

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A common misconception--hoarders are dumb and lazy, but Chalmers says not true.

"By far our biggest customers, teachers and professors," followed closely by lawyers and nurses," says Chalmers.

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He explains what's fueling the problem.

"The home shopping networks, the Amazons, the QVCs, the 99 cent stores, all of these things have made it easier for people to acquire stuff," he says.

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But if you've seen the TV show, hoarding is emotional and can even ruin families.

"I mean why throw away a brand new thing?" asks a hoarder.

"Because you don't have space!" screams a loved one.

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Chalmers says to successfully change a hoarder, you've got to get down and dirty, literally, but also address their psychological and emotional needs.

"They're not just hoarding because they like stuff. It's a void and they're filling a void," he says.

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