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Extreme Couponing: Promotion of OCD or Hoarding?

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Extreme Couponing has sparked a debate: Are all Extreme Couponers really just "neat" hoarders? Here is an short, analytical look at the difference between Hoarding and having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Consider this a debate topic: Does Extreme Couponing promote a disorder? While many people might see extreme couponing as an excessive hobby, the truth about couponing and the new-found obsession is that it goes much deeper than discounts.

TLC's new show, "Extreme Couponing" is gimmicky and appallingly interesting. The basis of the show circles around people who spend countless hours collecting and clipping coupons and researching sales ads as if it is their job. While most of the time investment isn't necessary, the truth is that many people involved in this show seem to be borderline Obsessive Compulsive.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder comes in many shapes and forms and can go from the tiniest need (a hand towel being folded and hung just so) to a great life impediment (having to open every door three times before walking through, for example). Many people would never associate this behavior with clipping coupons, but a closer look at an obsessive couponer's life would suggest otherwise.

Extremely Organized Stockpiles

While many of us have a few extra boxes of pasta in the cabinet or more than one container of lunch meat in the fridge, obsessive couponers have ten or even twenty times that amount. They begin to stockpile thier items in their basement, garage, or worse: all over their house in general. In some cases, people become so  involved with extreme couponing so quickly that they haven't even begun to think about where they will put all their items. The sad result of this is stockpiling things under beds, in kitchen cabinets, under sinks, and anywhere they see free space - impeding their quality of life.

So what's the connection to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? OCD finally takes hold once a couponer designates not only a set space, but a set format as well. An extremist will most likely have certain shelves designated for certain products like cleaning items, hygiene, or canned goods. While these shelves or spaces may look extremely neat they are normally out of control in size. Many people refer to it as their own "shopping mall" or "mini mart." This may sound great in theory, but you have to keep a tight reign on organization when it comes to stockpiling items with expiration dates, thousands at a time. It has been pointed out that rotation is key, here.

What is the Difference Between Stockpiling and Hoarding?

Many people will tell you that stockpiling in this amount and hoarding are no different, but stockpiling for extreme couponers comes with a slight case of OCD actually. Hoarding is done to achieve a sense of security and comfort. People might turn to couponing to achieve financial comfort or security, but when paired with OCD the case is much less severe than a person who is a true hoarder.

Hoarders have a tendency to just let things go and people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder must have control over their situation at all times. It will take a person that is a true extreme couponer (and not a hoarder) hours to put away their shopping haul, regardless of its size. They will meticulously plan where each item should go and sometimes debate over whether or not items should be moved to accomodate new ones. Most hoarders will purchase or aquire things without the intent on where to place it, rather, just add it to their "collection."

So, What's the Diagnosis Here?

Have you ever heard the saying, "Different strokes for different folks,"? Well, this is it. While Hoarding and OCD are located on two seperate ends of a broad spectrum, they both present their quirks and special attributes. The conclusion is that you can be a hoarder with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and can also be an Obsessive Compulsive hoarder. It all falls on organization and how far the obsession goes into controlling your life.


Posted on Feb 2, 2012
Leslie Windle
Posted on Jun 29, 2011
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Leslie Windle
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Roberta Baxter
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Leslie Windle

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