What Is Disposophobia?

     Disposophobia is the “irrational fear of getting rid of stuff.”[3718] It is now called compulsive hoarding. It is a mental disorder, but unfortunately not everyone sees it that way. No, instead people think that the person who is hoarding things just doesn't want to get rid of stuff. They don't think the hoarder actually has a phobia of disposing of their possessions. This however is untrue, but instead of being called disposophobia today, its better known as hoarding.

Who Is Afflicted by Disposophobia?

     Anyone can be afflicted by disposophobia. However like any phobia, it usually is the result of a bad experience. In this case the bad experience may have been that they accidentally disposed of something valuable. That or they lost something belonging to a different family member who got so upset about it, that instead of throwing anything away they keep it instead.

     They fear disposing anything, because they don't want to upset anyone, or lose something important to themselves. However, sometimes there's no reason at all for a persons phobia, as it may stem from out of nowhere.

What Can Happen To People With Disposophobia?

     People who have disposophobia, or compulsive hoarding can really do damage to their lives. They can wind up filling their house to the brim and in an emergency not be able to get out. They could lose their pets in the piles of stuff they're unable to part with and those pets could suffocate or starve to death.

     They themselves could trip over their clutter, although its far more than just a bit of clutter. Were the trip to be bad enough, they could need to be hospitalized or even die unable to call for help.

     Some people with disposophobia, don't fear getting rid of everything, but there is stuff they do fear disposing of. It depends on how they value each and every item. They might not get as big a problem as others with disposophobia, at least not as quickly, but it can still result in huge problems.

     There may be family members who want to help, but get frustrated, because they cannot. In the end it can tear families apart, particularly when the family members begin to think the stuff is more important than they are. It isn't that the stuff is more important, but that the person has an irrational fear of disposing of things. It is something that cannot be overcome just by talking to them, they instead would need therapy.

     It can however be difficult for them, even with therapy and thus why its important to understand them. Furthermore they should follow a mental health professionals guidelines. Doing so, so as not to set the disposophobic back whether they've made any progress at all or not.

Is There Help For People With Disposophobia?

     Yes, there is help for people suffering from disposophobia. Seeking the help of a psychologist or mental health professional is a step in the right direction. It wont be easy, but at least it will help in the long term. Usually for those suffering from a phobia, cognitive behavioral therapy and gradually more and more exposure to what a disosophobic fears will help.

Is Disposophobia and Comulsive Hoarding Really The Same Thing?

     No, disposophobia and compulsive hoarding is not really the same thing. Not exactly anyway, despite them being labled the same. A hoarder will purchase things they don't even need and wont want to get rid of them. A disposophobic on the other hand may not suffer from over compulsive buying. However what they do buy or are gifted are things they may fear disposing of.

     Still those suffering for either or both disposophobia and compulsive hoarding can be helped through therapeutic measures.

     Disposophobia is usually gained because of a traumatic event involving disposing of something, even if it had no real value, intrinsic or not. Compulsive hoarding may be a form of OCD (over compulsive disorder) and has to do with the functioning of the brain's chemicals. However not all hoarders experience OCD. Yet all of these can be treated with therapy.

Hoarding(97741)Credit: wikimedia commons

What Should I Do If A Family Member Has Disposophobia?

     The one thing not to do is to tease them about their phobia. Another thing is to not get mad at them. Getting upset with a disposophobic or threatening to throw away their things could actually make their phobia and their symptoms worse. Which could lead them to never wanting to throw away anything, not even things like junk mail or used paper plates.

     It doesn't matter that others would see the stuff as not being of value, the person with disophobia just can't part with things. They for some reason fear getting rid of stuff. Instead of threatening them or teasing them, suggest they get help. Don't force them however, because it could be detrimental to the process of getting them help for their phobia.

     They might resist at first, so you may yourself want to find someone to discuss things with. Someone who can help you to find a way to help the one with disposophobia, or compulsive hoarding.

How Do I Know If I Have Disposophobia?

     The fact that you're looking up information about disposophobia or compulsive hoarding indicates that you think you might. Which is a sign that maybe you do or know someone who might. Unless of course you're looking up disposophobia or compulsive hoarding for a report or something.

      One way to know if you have disophobia, is if it upsets you to think about throwing away or donating old clothes, toys, newspapers, wrappers or junk mail. Particularly if there are large piles and its difficult to move in your own apartment or house. Perhaps you have more than one small storage area filled with such items and it costs more to store everything than what is actually being stored.

Can Disophobia Or Hoarding Be Completely Cured?

     No, there is no sure fire cure for disophobia or hoarding as of yet. In statistics, “only a third of patients show an adequate response to these medications and therapeutic interventions.”[3719] That doesn't mean someone suffering from disophobia or comulsive hoarding shouldn't seek help. Although perhaps a weekly support group meeting for those who have disposophobia might also help.