Bibliomania, the term is common to our ears, but how many of us know the exact meaning to this. Yes, it is a psychological disorder when a person has an impulsive obsession of buying and hoarding lots and lots of books. This is often referring to as a compulsive disorder. The extreme form of bibliomania can cause health hazards and also cause problems in personal relationships. This particular form of the disorder is also referred to as pathological collecting and compulsive hoarding of books. Thought the psychiatrist of the American Psychiatric Association does not recognize bibliomania or any compulsive hoarding as a serious mental or psychological disorder.
People are liable to become a victim of bibliomania at a very early age, but it does not seem to create much of a problem until and unless the person is on the wrong side of forty. According to some psychiatrists, this disorder may occur as a defense mechanism in a person who had suffered a great trauma or has a history of being badly abused in his past. This type of person becomes very skeptical about the underlying cause of the problem and tries to morph it under his maniac hoarding of unwanted thing, especially books. He doesn’t want people around him to know that his abusive or traumatic past is still bothering him.
How to recognize Bibliomania
There are some symptoms that reflect the disorder as pathological hoarding or bibliomania. These can cause serious health hazards to the victims.
- Hoarding useless and valueless books
- Unsuppressed desire to possess books though they are never read
- Collecting numerous copies of the same book
- The addiction of hoarding books becomes so impulsive that it even intervenes with the victims daily schedules
- Anxiety, depression and unending worries regarding the collection
- Lack of interest in personal life or personal relationships
People suffering from an acute form of bibliomania may face serious safety hazards. Like in some cases the victims try to block all that exists of his room and even his house with all the books he had hoarded in. the racks stuffed with books tend to fall apart or get demolished at any time. These hoarded books are often infested by rats, termites and cockroaches that can cause serious ailments. Books and books are everywhere, even in the kitchen, bedroom and bathrooms, none of the spaces is spared disrupting the normal hygiene, eating and sleeping habits. Hoarding so many books can even lead to severe fire threat that can burn down the entire house if any of the paper pieces catch fire sometimes.
Living with a person who has bibliomania is not easy. Hence, personal relationships tend to suffer a lot. A person suffers from this disorder cares for none in front of his books, he becomes unsocial and never wants to part himself from his collection that he is so possessive about. This leads to continuous conflicts among the family members. A bibliomaniac may end up losing his job, his relatives, and his spouse and be completely bankrupt after his compulsive book buying habit.
What is the treatment for Bibliomania?
The diagnosis of bibliomania depends upon some factors like symptoms, signs and history of the patient. The medical professionals often refer to these points while they are handling such cases. The most important problem with these victims is that they do not want leave their collection even for a minute to visit the doctor. Inspire of the fact that the DMS-IV for not accepted bibliomania or any form of hoarding as a serious disease but the next edition has admitted that it is a disease if the following symptoms are present
- Excessive possessiveness about books irrespective of their worth
- A deep feeling of anxiety or stress and always sensing a fear that someone may destroy their collection
- Do not have normal social or personal relationship
- The hoarding comes to an extent where it may become a serious health or safety stress.
- No other mental disorder found except for the compulsive hoarding of books
If a person has these symptoms, it is advisable for his family members or friends to immediately contact a doctor.
Since bibliomania or hoarding as been recognized as a disorder recently, there are not much specific medicines and therapies for this disorder. Since it is generally categorized as obsessive-compulsive disorder, the similar treatment is recommended for bibliomania too. The medical professionals prescribe drugs like Clomipramine, Tricyclic antidepressants, citalopram (Celexa), fluvoxamine (Luvox) and so on. However, the drugs alone are not the only cure for bibliomania, the cognitive behavioral therapy by expert therapists are also recommended curing this disorder completely. This therapy includes psychotherapies treatment along with activities that are designed to achieve various goals. However, like all the other psychological disorder, the victim of bibliomania also needs to be handled with a lot of love and affection.