NewsHealthWhen accumulating objects becomes disease, here are the 'spies'

When accumulating objects becomes disease, here are the ‘spies’

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Letting go of objects, memories and people isn’t always easy. Keeping things to oneself is completely normal, as is collecting or accumulating objects and memories. There are cases in which, however, this attitude becomes pathological, or when the need to acquire these goods – without using them or throwing them away – results in a heavy limitation of everyday activities, starting from hygiene, cleaning. of spaces, to rest. The difficulty in getting rid of objects therefore becomes dysfunctional, and results in a real pathology, known as accumulation disorder or disposophobia. Talking about it is Paola Mosini, psychologist and psychotherapist of the Humanitas Psycho-Medical Care Center, who also illustrates which are the ‘spies’ that should not be underestimated, the ‘antechamber’ of the disease. Among the alarm bells, there are some signs that family members must grasp because these are sufficient behaviors to turn to a specialist: they range from the difficulty in the economic management of the house to the presence of discussions in the family caused by excessive ‘things at home’ that generate disorder; from the excessive tendency to stockpile to the tendency to procrastination of tidying up behaviors, to the reduction of social relations and withdrawal from social life, often closing in the home. An early intervention – it is explained in the article – allows you to prevent the worsening of subthreshold clinical conditions that over time can even compromise the psychological well-being of a person and family members. “Those who suffer from disposophobia – explains the expert in the Lombard IRCCS newsletter – tend to accumulate without brakes, and do not seem to care that the accumulation itself reduces or even prevents them from going around the house. In these pathological cases of compulsion to accumulation develops the fear of throwing away what one collects. There is a tendency to repeat to oneself that everything could prove useful one day – he adds – because it could increase one’s economic or emotional value. This thought can become a guide that leads straight to the ‘accumulation”. People who have an accumulation disorder “perceive a strong emotional attachment towards objects – continues Paola Mosini – and feel the need to maintain a presumed form of control over them, so much so that they do not accept that no one touches or throws them. Just thinking about what to eliminate, in these people generates anxiety and anguish; the passage from thought to deed action is never carried out either for fear of making the wrong decision, or for the inability to detach oneself from objects, even if then they are abandoned in the decay that often surrounds those who suffer from them “. How to intervene in case of accumulation disturbance? “An external intervention, such as that of a partner who decides to physically empty the house, is not useful and, on the contrary, triggers adverse reactions in those who suffer from it”, warns the expert. “Cognitive behavioral therapy turns out to be the treatment of choice: a part of the therapy should include a psychoeducational phase for the patient, so as to promote greater awareness of the disease, but also for his family. It is also essential to be able to understand the presence of a biological component in the origin of this disorder: in this way it will be possible to try to redeem, at least in part, the negative image of the patient that has often been structured over time. A good intervention – he concludes – must start from the development of a solid therapeutic alliance between the subjects involved, which will make it possible to build a targeted path with shared objectives “.

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