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DEPENDENCES

Greediness, compulsive hoarding, pathological collecting: unbounded love to things and their hoarding

Greediness, compulsive hoarding, pathological collecting: unbounded love to things and their hoarding

Greediness or acquisitiveness – is a pathological urge to purchasing different things and attachment to these things. A greedy man is very dependent on material goods and even objects, he doesn’t need very much. Impossibility to buy and enlarge his collections of things makes the greedy man feel dissatisfaction, anxiety and discontent by his life in whole. By that intangible values, such as friendship, love, people’s respect, objects of art – make almost no matter for him.

Greediness of such people often leads to compulsive hoarding (or pathological collecting), as they grow old. But these phenomena are not always interconnected. Collecting and hoarding useless things in enormous amount are incident to seniors (sometimes young people), who had to save on each thing, who had a low income and kept everything. Hoarding disorder (sillogomania in psychiatry) – is not a harmless whimsy, but a mental disorder, reckoning in forms of compulsive behavior. In the most serious cases pathological collecting makes the house uninhabitable, and comes to real degradation of the person.

Reasons of compulsive hoarding

Passion for collecting things is known from long ago, and it was always condemned. Earlier this phenomenon was called whims and luxuries, but it is used now mostly in the religious context to denote sinful and vicious passion for hoarding. It can imply hoarding useless junk, senseless collecting, liking for presents or getting bribes. In the contemporary world only compulsive hoarding applies to mental disorders, while the other phenomena belong to negative personal traits.

Hoarding disorder has its prerequisites like personal characteristics and life circumstances, which play a great role in forming this dependence:

  • Collecting junk in childhood – broken toys, stubs of pencils, pocket calendars of last years and so on;
  • Heredity. People, who have relatives, suffering from hoarding disorder, have by several times increased risk of forming the same dependence. Family upbringing plays the great role here: the child learns from his parents, grandfathers and grandmothers to keep all material things, as they do;
  • Lack of material care in childhood;
  • Bigstress. Sorrowful events (divorce, death of a relative, fire, theft) may become a starting point for this pathology;
  • Alcohol abuse – at present time or in the past. More than half of hoarders have or had problems with alcohol.

Symptoms of pathological collecting

There is a lot of junk including useless and broken things in the homes of people, who suffer from sillogomania. On the first stage of such disease the house is yet suitable for living, one can freely get to the doors and windows. But as soon as disorder progresses, the hoarder’s house turns to trash dump: old newspapers, broken household appliances, torn clothes and footwear, empty cans and other useless things occupy the most of the space. Insanitary conditions predominate in the house, and home traumatism can take place. The general symptoms of pathological collecting are the following:

  • Violent decreasing of living space due to filling it with various objects;
  • Inability to throw away old and useless things;
  • Anguish of mind by the thought of throwing away the junk (even if it is a plastic bag or a holed boot);
  • Moving the things from one pile to another;
  • Unwillingness to sort out the mess;
  • Problems with the daily routine and making decisions;
  • Seldom communication with people, gradual loss of social intercourse.

Contemporary hoarders often have considerable financial savings, but they keep them in bags or stockings untouched. Such people live low, as it seems, don’t care of themselves, go on short rations and start gradually looking asocial.

Any item of their “collection” is precious for them. The hoarders honestly believe they will need all the things one day and emotionally they are very attached to their so-called “treasures”. Their main difference from greedy people and collectors is that they don’t need to arrange their goods, while the collectors usually systematize their items and don’t look like poor folk at all.

Diagnosis and treatment for sillogomania

Deliverance from psychological dependence on collecting things is an uneasy task, as the patient denies his hoarding disorder and considers his behavior and way of life absolutely normal. Good, if he still keeps in touch with relatives, who can persuade him to see a psychotherapist.

Diagnosis of sillogomania can be proved on the basis of patient’s questioning and examining his brain structure by MRT method. Hoarders often have pathology of frontal lobes, responsible for critical thinking.

Unfortunately there is no special program of sillogomania treatment in our country, while this disorder is quite successfully cured on the West. Only consulting a qualified specialist and countenance of the relatives may help the patient.

The treatment for compulsive hoarding includes sessions of psychotherapy and drug therapy, given on an individual basis. The psychotherapist helps the patient to reveal reasons of his dependence, teaches him to make decisions and think objectively. Behavioral therapy allows the patient to create motivation for putting things in order and creating conditions suitable for living in own house.

Drug therapy implies taking antidepressants of serotonin reuptake inhibitor group. The most frequently used pharmaceutical here is paroxetine; the dosage and the course are prescribed by the doctor.




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