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|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||115 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42 to 48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Screaming Flea Productions|
|Original network||A&E, Lifetime|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Original release||August 17, 2009– present|
Hoarders is an American reality television series that debuted on A&E. The show depicts the real-life struggles and treatment of people who suffer from compulsive hoarding disorder. The series premiered on August 17, 2009 and concluded its original run on February 4, 2013, after six seasons.
Over a year after the program's original cancellation in 2013, Lifetime began airing a series of weekly "Where Are They Now?" episodes on June 2, 2014. This led to the production of a seventh season, Hoarders: Family Secrets, which aired on Lifetime from May 28, 2015 to July 30, 2015.
The program returned to A&E for an eighth season which began January 3, 2016. A second part of the eighth season began on August 21, 2016, under the title: Hoarders: Then and Now. Each broadcast presents an episode from earlier seasons, ending with a present-day visit to one of its featured hoarders by the therapist or organizer who worked with him/her. Interviews with the hoarder and his/her family reveal how their lives have progressed since their first appearance on the show.
A ninth season began on December 19, 2016. Some episodes during this season air under the title Hoarders: Overload, presenting expanded versions of episodes from earlier seasons that include previously unaired footage and updates on the subjects.
Each 60-minute episode profiles one or two interventions. During most of the first season, the hoarder worked with either a psychiatrist/psychologist, a professional organizer, or an "extreme cleaning specialist," each of whom specialized in some aspect involving the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorders, anxiety disorders, and/or hoarding. A crew of professional cleaners (usually a local franchise of the series' major corporate sponsor) performed actual cleanups. Two episodes in the first season featured a cleanup with both a psychologist and an organizer: Jill (episode "Jennifer and Ron/Jill") and Patty (episode "Patty/Bill"); from season two onward, all Hoarders were given a psychologist and an organizer. The final episode of the first season, "Paul/Missy and Alex" featured professional organizer, Geralin Thomas, CPO-CD working with Missy, while a child psychologist, Dr. David Dia, worked with Missy's seven-year-old son Alex. Beginning in the second season, each hoarder had a psychologist-plus-organizer/cleaning specialist team assisting them in their cleanup. The psychologist-plus-organizer/cleaning specialist combination leads a group of cleaning professionals, family, friends, and relatives of the hoarder in conducting a two- to three-day decluttering session. The cleanups aim both to teach the hoarder new ways of thinking and patterns of behavior and to make the home a liveable and usable space. In most instances a crisis prompts the intervention, such as the threat of eviction or the removal of minor children from the home.
Many times, cleanups are postponed due to outstanding circumstances. In the season 5 episode, "Mary/Annie", crew members placed a 911 call, after discovering Mary unresponsive in her home. She was taken to a local hospital, and the cleanup resumed the following afternoon after she was released following respiratory problems. In another episode, the camera and cleanup crew were forced to evacuate a structurally unstable home following the 5.8 magnitude 2011 Virginia Earthquake. Twice in the series, a hoarder has kicked the crew off their property and refused further help. Lisa from season four aborted the cleanup after the first day, when her pets escaped in the process. Linda, from season nine, walked away six times, before allowing the crew to organize part of her barn; she later told them to leave and not come back. Sandra, from season nine, no longer owned her home or horde when the episode covered her but the new owners of the home attempted to be accommodating towards her. Ultimately the vast majority of Sandra's horde was destroyed with Sandra's unwillingness to cooperate complicating matters. The failure to help Sandra left everyone from the psychologist involved to the homeowners heartbroken over their inability to help Sandra salvage something of her life.
At the end of each episode, on-screen text indicates the short-term outcome of the cleanup effort, including the subjects' decisions on whether to seek further assistance from organizers and/or therapists. The show provides six months of aftercare funds to pay these professionals and, occasionally, to carry out vital repairs to the home.
Each of the "Where Are They Now?" episodes on Lifetime revisits two or more hoarders, showing clips from their original appearances followed by newer footage detailing the progress they have made since they were featured on the show.
There have been a number of therapists and professional organizers who have contributed to the show. Reccurring cast members are as follows:
- Robin Zasio, Psy.D.
- Suzanne Chabaud, Ph.D.
- Melva Green, M.D., M.B.A., M.B.H.
- Michael Tomkins, Ph.D., ABPP
- David Tolin, Ph.D.
- Mark Pfeffer, LMFT
- Geralin Thomas, Certified Professional Organizer
- Dorothy Brenninger, Certified Professional Organizer
- Matt Paxton, Extreme Cleaning Specialist
- Cory Chalmers, Extreme Cleaning Specialist
- Standolyn Robertson, Extreme Cleaning Specialist
- Dr. Darnita L. Payden, Life Management Specialist
With the release of DSM-5 in 2013, hoarding was classified as a separate disorder. During show's original run, hoarding behaviors were considered symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Hoarding does show links to obsessive and compulsive behaviors; however, it also shows connections to Major Depressive Disorder as well as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Hoarding could have simply remained a symptom and been included under multiple disorders. However, treating the comorbid disorders in a patient often does not eliminate hoarding behaviors. Another significant factor in the disorder’s reclassification was the discovery that more people could be diagnosed with hoarding behaviors than could be diagnosed with OCD. This showed that hoarding could not be a subtype of OCD. Rather, it had to be a separate illness with similarities (the fear of letting go being the obsession, and the hoarding of unneeded items as the compulsion). These similarities are recognized in the DSM-5, as hoarding is classified under the heading of “Obsessive Compulsive Related Disorders.” Other disorders in this category include Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Trichotillomania, and Excoriation. These disorders share common features “such as obsessive preoccupation and repetitive behaviors.”
The role of documentary shows like Hoarders in the change of classification is unclear. However, some believe the rise in awareness caused by them was a significant contributing factor. When hoarding became a buzzword, it “commanded a significant amount of professional…attention”. Studies that may have been prompted by this could have aided in revealing the disorder as the unique and complex illness it truly is.
At the time of its premiere, Hoarders was the most-watched series premiere in A&E network history among adults aged 18–49 and tied for the most ever in the adults aged 25–54 demographic. The premiere was watched by 2.5 million viewers: 1.8 million adults aged 18–49. In 2011, Hoarders won a Critics Choice Award, in a tie with The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, for best reality series.
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- "Aftercare — Home cleaning". A&E Community. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
This is Cory Chalmers from Hoarders and as part of my business, we offer regularly scheduled cleaning for every hoarding case we help with.
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