Apparently this may be a series for a while and this subject is so important for anyone to watch who knows a loved one be it family or friend with this illness.
It is an ILLNESS and generally it is associated with OCD as part of the problem and usually help comes mainly from a Cognitive Behavior Specialist.
Please as you watch these shows, don't think of clutter or things like that--this is beyond that and is a mental illness and most people have a terrible time coping with this illness even though they want help but can't seem to deal with the anxiety it brings.
My best friend has this illness and it breaks my heart as she desperately would love to live in a place that is not like where she is now, but just can't cope with the stress and work it entails.
I am sorry your friend suffers with this. Has she sought help, or did the idea of the therapy + the actual work scare her? I hope she finds some help. Your local chapter of NAMI would be a good place to start if she needs help finding a good therapist.
I have a friend, too, who is like this. Her apartment is like nothing I've ever seen on any of these shows. Until my sister went over and helped her clear some paths because the fire department threatened her, she had not been able to get into her kitchen for 15 years due to all of he stuff and debris piled up in her living room, dining area and kitchen. I know she has a disease, but she refuses to acknowlege it. My sister indicated to her that she could get help from social services, and she had a fit and said that she "just needed to get it clean once and she would keep it that way". Sure. Her old car was so full of junk that the tail end dragged due to the amount of stuff she had in the back seat and trunk, and the front seat was so full only she could sit there. She got a new car, and within a month, it looked like her old car, so "getting it clean once and keeping it that way" was not what she could do. I have a tendency to clutter, so I have to follow a "declutter" schedule (with help from Flylady) or else my house gets too cluttered. It helps to get into the habit of throwing away at least five things a day (other than obvious trash like food wrappers, etc,. but some people do keep these things). I feel sorry for these people because throwing something away causes actual pain and anxiety, and "normal" people can't understand it.