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Plyushkin's syndrome: how to prevent garbage from becoming the main thing in life
Plyushkin's syndrome: how to prevent garbage from becoming the main thing in life

The life hacker explored the fine line between cute creative mess and pathological hoarding.

Plyushkin's syndrome: how to prevent garbage from becoming the main thing in life
Plyushkin's syndrome: how to prevent garbage from becoming the main thing in life

The problem is not new. Gogol published his Dead Souls in 1842. And somewhere since then, the shadow of the old man Plyushkin has been wandering around the world, who dragged into the house everything that came to hand, and if it was necessary to throw out some rubbish, he experienced almost physical suffering.

It is not known how many Plyushkin were there in the middle of the 19th century. But now there are so many of them that the surname has become the name of a popular neurological syndrome.

Perhaps this pathology is already developing in you or your loved ones. Check it out.

Where does Plyushkin's syndrome come from?

Plyushkin is still a Russian hero. In English-language sources, the same neurological disorder is designated differently - messi syndrome (from the English mess - disorder) or the chording Hoarding: The Basics (from the English to hoard - to accumulate). Regardless of the name, we are talking about the same thing - pathological hoarding.

At the initial stage, the disorder is practically no different from the completely understandable love of creative disorder or unwillingness to part with things that are dear to the heart.

In the first case, the desktop is littered with necessary and unnecessary papers, unwashed cups and, for example, apple cores. Well, what did you want? This is a creative process, there is no time to be distracted by cleaning!

In the second, things no longer fit on the shelves of the cabinets, but the hand does not rise to throw them away, because this book was presented by your first beloved, but in that blouse you first went to the sea …

But for some people, over time and age, all this is transformed into obsessive behavior - hording.

What exactly is causing this transformation is not yet fully understood by scientists. It is only known that chording is often associated with other mental disorders: loneliness and depression, increased anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (obsessive thoughts).

Also, the development of Plyushkin's syndrome is associated with The Psychology Behind Hoarding with the following factors:

  1. Age … Most often, chording is observed in people over 50 years old. However, deeper research shows that the passion for hoarding began to manifest itself in them as early as 11-15 years old.
  2. Personality type … People with pronounced indecision suffer from Plyushkin's syndrome.
  3. Heredity … About this factor, psychologists are not exactly sure, but nevertheless note some genetic predisposition to the development of pathology. If one of your close relatives has littered your house, you have a higher risk of following in his footsteps than others.
  4. Psychological trauma … Many Plyushkins have experienced a traumatic event in the past, the consequences of which have not been overcome with the help of psychotherapy.
  5. Social isolation … Most often, chorders are people suffering from loneliness and lack of social acceptance. They try to find consolation in things.

What does Plyushkin's syndrome lead to?

There are quite clear criteria that allow us to say unequivocally: “Stop, this is no longer a passion for creative disorder and not collecting things that are dear to the heart. This is a pathology."

American researchers have created the scale THE 5 HOARDING LEVELS AND GUIDELINES FOR RECOGNIZING THE DISORDER, which allows you to assess the severity of the problem.

Level I

There is a mess, but not excessive. Access to doors and stairs is free, moving around is quite easy, and there are no unpleasant odors. In general, the dwelling looks slightly cluttered, but neat.

II level

The trash cans are full. Part of the space - 1-2 rooms - is littered with things, it is difficult to move around there. Mold grows in the kitchen and bathroom. All horizontal surfaces are littered so that they cannot be used. Access to one of the exits from the house is blocked by a landfill.

III level

At least one of the rooms is unfit for habitation: it is impossible to move around in it. Other rooms are messy, dusty and dirty, and smells bad. Corridors and passages are cluttered. In the event of a fire or smoke, a person cannot be saved.

IV level

There is so much trash and dirt that it is almost impossible to use the bathroom and bedroom from the point of view of an outsider. Mold is visible on the walls and floor. There are problems with clogged sewers and electrical wiring.

V level

The dwelling is more like a dump. There is practically no free space - everything is crammed with things and garbage. Among them are cockroaches, rats and other parasites. There is no electricity and water, the sewage system does not work: either the wires are cut or the pipes are clogged.

The situation threatens not only the chorder, but also his neighbors in the apartment building. They are forced to endure the stench, pests and the constant threat of a flood or fire.

Of course, very neglected cases are rare. However, they are quite possible if you do not stop in time.

How to recognize Plyushkin's syndrome at an early stage

Plyushkin's syndrome should be corrected as soon as 2-3 of the following symptoms appear:

  1. Difficulty cleaning … Creative clutter extends not only to the desktop, but to other surfaces as well. Clothes, books, papers, equipment simply fall into chairs or wardrobes indiscriminately.
  2. Reluctance to throw away what is worthless … A leaky sweater - nothing, it will come in handy in the country. A completed weekly for the year before last - what if I ever need to review it and remember something important ?! A broken chair is okay, I'll fix it one day. A TV that cannot be repaired - even if it is, it may contain expensive spare parts!
  3. Too careful attitude to insignificant things … For example, to a scattering of stones brought by children or grandchildren from the sea. Or a dozen children's blouses. Or an old souvenir like a dove with a broken wing. Above all this, the novice horder withers, like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, not wanting to part and not allowing his family to throw away the obviously worn out and no longer needed things.
  4. Neglect of hygiene, cleaning, changing linen … In general, this is predictable: when there is too much trash, putting things in order becomes a titanic work.
  5. Self-isolation … A person demonstrates a distrustful and hostile attitude towards people, including loved ones, and the world around him, strives for loneliness.

How to treat Plyushkin's syndrome

Unfortunately, modern science cannot tell you how to prevent the disorder: it is not well understood. There remains only one option - to prevent the emerging chording from developing.

It is most effective to do this with a psychotherapist. The specialist will be able to figure out the trigger - trauma, personality type, social isolation, anxiety disorder - that caused a person to surround himself with unnecessary things. Several consultations and prescription of antidepressants may be needed.

The help of loved ones is also important. Horder should never be blamed. Otherwise, he will go deeper into himself and make the wall of trash even more dense.

Plyushkin needs warmth and sincere support so that he does not feel lonely and defenseless. In particular, from time to time, you can help a person clean up and focus on how light and clean it becomes around, how much easier it is to breathe.