What is Tsundoku Syndrome? What are the symptoms and how is it treated?
Tsundoku Syndrome, also known as bibliomania or book hoarding, is a term used to describe a compulsive behavior of acquiring books but failing to read them. It is a phenomenon that affects many book lovers and collectors around the world. The word “tsundoku” is of Japanese origin and is a combination of “tsunde” (meaning to stack things) and “oku” (meaning to leave for a while).
Symptoms of Tsundoku Syndrome can vary from person to person, but there are several common signs that indicate its presence. These symptoms include:
1. Accumulating a large number of unread books: Individuals with Tsundoku Syndrome often have a significant number of books that they have purchased but have not yet read. These books may be piled up in various places around their homes, such as bookshelves, tables, or even on the floor.
2. Difficulty in resisting the urge to buy books: People with Tsundoku Syndrome find it challenging to resist the temptation of buying new books, even when they have a substantial backlog of unread ones. They may feel a sense of excitement or satisfaction when acquiring new books, regardless of whether they have the time or intention to read them.
3. Feeling overwhelmed by the number of unread books: Individuals with Tsundoku Syndrome may feel overwhelmed or stressed by the sheer volume of unread books they possess. This feeling of being burdened by unread books can lead to guilt or anxiety.
4. Lack of time or motivation to read: Despite having a strong interest in books, individuals with Tsundoku Syndrome often struggle to find the time or motivation to read. They may have busy schedules or other distractions that prevent them from dedicating time to reading.
5. Difficulty in letting go of books: People with Tsundoku Syndrome may find it challenging to part with their books, even if they have no intention of reading them in the future. They may develop an emotional attachment to their books and feel a sense of loss or sadness at the thought of getting rid of them.
Treatment for Tsundoku Syndrome primarily involves developing healthy reading habits and addressing the underlying causes of the behavior. Here are some strategies that can be helpful:
1. Setting realistic reading goals: Individuals with Tsundoku Syndrome can start by setting achievable reading goals. This can involve creating a reading schedule or committing to reading a certain number of pages or chapters each day. By breaking down the reading process into manageable tasks, it becomes easier to make progress and reduce the backlog of unread books.
2. Prioritizing reading time: It is essential to prioritize reading time and make it a regular part of the daily routine. This can involve setting aside a specific time each day dedicated solely to reading. By making reading a priority, individuals can gradually reduce the number of unread books and develop a consistent reading habit.
3. Creating a reading list: Making a list of books to read can help individuals stay focused and organized. By creating a reading list, individuals can prioritize the books they want to read and avoid getting distracted by new book releases or impulse purchases. This can also provide a sense of accomplishment as books are crossed off the list.
4. Avoiding impulsive book buying: Individuals with Tsundoku Syndrome should try to resist the urge to buy books impulsively. Before purchasing a new book, it is important to consider whether it aligns with their reading goals and if they have the time and motivation to read it. By being more selective in book purchases, individuals can prevent the accumulation of unread books.
5. Donating or selling unused books: If the number of unread books becomes overwhelming, individuals can consider donating or selling books they no longer have an interest in reading. This can help declutter the living space and reduce the emotional attachment to unused books. Donating books to libraries or charitable organizations can also provide a sense of satisfaction by knowing that the books will be enjoyed by others.
6. Seeking support: Joining book clubs or online reading communities can provide support and motivation for individuals with Tsundoku Syndrome. Engaging in discussions about books and sharing reading experiences can help reignite the passion for reading and provide accountability.
It is important to note that Tsundoku Syndrome is not recognized as a clinical disorder and does not require medical treatment. However, for individuals who find their book hoarding behavior significantly impacting their daily lives or causing distress, it may be beneficial to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance and support in developing healthy reading habits and addressing any underlying psychological factors contributing to the behavior.