Dear Abby: Your response to "Secondhand Rose" (June 11) was well-intentioned but won't provide the level of intervention her husband needs. He's clearly a compulsive shopper and hoarder, and her going along on his buying trips will only lead to more family conflict and bad feelings without solving anything.
He needs cognitive behavioral therapy, the sooner the better. Like all addicts, he will probably be unwilling to admit he needs treatment and resist going. The best way to deal with this is family intervention -- like what is done with alcoholics and drug addicts.
Hoarding is a serious, life-threatening and life-consuming disorder like any other addiction. Getting better without treatment is unlikely.
-- Gloria V., One Who Knows
Dear Gloria: Many readers felt as you do, that "Secondhand Rose's" husband has a serious disorder and needs professional help. One organization that has been mentioned before in this column is the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation. Its website is www.ocfoundation.org. Read on:
Dear Abby: I have a suggestion for Rose. Why not check with a local charity and ask what it needs? Give her husband the list and have him search for bargains, then donate them to the charity. It's win-win. The donation can be declared on their tax return, they won't have loads of clutter, the charity benefits, and her husband can continue to use his bargain-hunting skills.
-- Victoria in Olympia, Wash.
Dear Abby: Rose's husband has a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hoarders value trash and are blind to their illness, believing they are only "collectors." They twist every conversation you have with them in an attempt to save their trash and will destroy normal relationships with family.
Rose needs to educate and protect herself before it's too late. Eventually her home will completely deteriorate because normal maintenance will be impossible. She won't be able to clean because of the piles of junk.
-- Still Digging Out in California