The disorder of accumulation is a psychiatric disorder that is characterized because the affected person accumulates objects without control in a chaotic way. It is estimated that between 2% and 6% of the world population suffers from this disorder.
The main problem is that the ability to function normally can be affected , due to accumulation disorder. The stuffing of things leads progressively to isolation and generates risks in the home.
A lot of people who have accumulation disorder are not aware that they have a problem . They think that their lifestyle is normal and they blame others for not understanding them.
What is accumulation disorder?
In a strict sense, accumulation disorder is defined as a psychiatric disorder that manifests as an impossibility to get rid of possessions . It is a persistent difficulty to get rid of or get rid of belongings.
The affected has the idea that he must keep his possessions. He experiences great anguish at the possibility of separating himself from his belongings. The objects it holds may or may not have real value; sometimes it’s just garbage. They are saved because:
- They think that the saved objects may be useful in the future.
- They are memories of happy times or allow them to evoke loved people or situations.
- They experience a feeling of greater security to be surrounded by all those objects.
- They fear, irrationally, that they are causing waste if they are detached from the stored.
It is a mental problem that varies from mild to severe . There are cases in which the accumulation of objects does not significantly alter life. However, in other cases the situation achieves considerable risks, by attracting pests, influencing social relations and causing fire danger.
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Causes and symptoms
It is usual for the first symptoms of accumulation disorder to appear in adolescence. It is often a private conduct that, in principle, is not even notorious. Gradually it becomes more intense and evident. The main symptoms of the accumulation disorder are the following:
- Excessive acquisition of objects that are not needed and for which there is no place in the housing site.
- Persistent resistance to get rid of unnecessary objects, even though they do not have an objective value.
- Deep need to save what is acquired and feeling anguish before the possibility of detaching from the stored.
- Convert rooms and places of passage into impassable and uninhabitable spaces. The home is transformed only into a storage site.
- The usual thing is that all this is accompanied by some character traits such as perfectionism, indecision, postponement, evasion and difficulties in planning.
There is not a full agreement around the causes of the accumulation disorder . Currently, genetic factors, stressful situations and states of insecurity and anguish are examined as possible sources of this problem.
Diagnosis of accumulation disorder
The diagnosis is basically made through an interview with the patient . What is done basically is to evaluate if the criteria of the disease are present. Particularly inquire about the quantity and quality of stored objects and the difficulty to get rid of them.
It is best to conduct the interview at the patient’s home . When this is not possible, relatives and acquaintances are likely to be contacted to provide information. Most of the time the patient does not think he has a problem.
It is important to rule out the presence of other pathologies that can lead to symptoms similar to those of accumulation disorder. Brain lesions, autism spectrum disorders and some forms of dementia give rise to similar symptoms.
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Risk and prevention factors
Accumulation disorder is more common in adults than in young people . However, it usually gives the first signs between 11 and 15 years. It is important to pay attention to these initial symptoms, as well as to the risk factors. The main risk factors are:
- Family history It has been detected that very frequently there are other similar cases in the same family.
- Personality It is also frequent that people with strong features of indecision have a greater tendency to develop accumulation disorder.
- Stressful events Sometimes the disease appears after an episode that generates intense stress.
There is no way to prevent the accumulation disorder . However, as in other treatments for mental problems, early intervention greatly improves the prognosis of this problem.