The world is full of of embarrassing conditions you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Every week, Carian discusses one. This week: Bibliomania.
What is more relaxing than roaming through your favorite bookstore on a free afternoon. Eventually treating yourself with a nice book and spending the rest of the day reading it on a sunny terrace.
Whether it’s a novel, a thriller or a fantasy story, most people love books. But, bibliomania goes way beyond just loving books. People who suffer this obsessive-compulsive condition have an urgent need to collect as well as hoard books. Any book. In bookstores, they will throw random books in their basket without attention for the title, writer or subject. At home, the purchased books will be stacked wherever possible – ranging from bookshelves to stoves and bathtubs. The accumulation of books beyond possible capacity of use or enjoyment.
The necessity to collect books even goes up to a point where social relationships are jeopardized. First of all, it’s impossible for them to discuss other topics than literature, which make them not the most attractive people to talk with. In addition, they only want to spend time with books, if not, they grow irritable or even anxious. Feelings that can only be relieved by purchasing more books. Furthermore the obsession comes at the expense of personal health as they might not shower for days or miss appointments with doctors. Also the increased levels of anxiety can lead to panic attacks and high blood pressure.
It seems that bibliomania may affect everyone and the cause is still unclear. The condition could be triggered by a family history with compulsive behavior, stressful live events, alcohol abuse or social isolation. Treatment often includes behavior therapy as well as medication.
“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” is available in the UA Library