The Conversation: childhood trauma can cause pathological hoarding

April 18, 2024  10:42

Throwing away things to which a child has emotional attachment can cause pathological hoarding in adulthood. Psychologist and researcher Victoria Ruby-Granger from De Montfort University (UK) told The Conversation.

The psychologist explained that pathological hoarding is a type of compulsive behaviour, which consists of collecting and storing a lot of unused things (most often household items), because of which the premises gradually become uninhabitable. According to the results of some studies, the first signs of such pathology, on average, appear at the age of 11-15 years. In some cases, the tendency to hoarding is formed in childhood or in adulthood.

According to Ruby-Granger, the refusal to throw things away can be provoked by the need to live in conditions of austerity. Excessive thriftiness can manifest itself both in student years and later in life. Another reason for the development of pathological hoarding can be parental encouragement of children to throw things away. Particularly traumatic can be the loss of a thing to which the child has formed a strong emotional attachment.

It is also noted that some people start to "accumulate junk" after the breakup of romantic relationships, divorce, health problems and moving. However, the complete cluttering of the living space with things does not happen overnight. For pathological hoarding to become noticeable to others, a person must be in a state of stress, anxiety or depression for a long time.

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