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Depress Anxiety. 2011 Oct 3;28(10):885-91. doi: 10.1002/da.20826. Epub 2011 May 23.

Comparison of object and animal hoarding.

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  • 1Smith College, Department of Psychology, Northampton, Massachusetts 01063, USA.


Recent research has highlighted the prevalence and harmful consequences of hoarding, and investigators have proposed inclusion of hoarding disorder in DSM-5. An unanswered question about the proposed disorder is whether people who hoard animals would meet diagnostic criteria for it. This article discusses the similarities and differences between object and animal hoarding. People who hoard animals appear to meet the basic diagnostic criteria for hoarding disorder. Their homes are cluttered, disorganized, and dysfunctional. They have great difficulty relinquishing animals to people who can more adequately care for them, and they form intense attachments (urges to save) that result in significant impairment. However, they differ from people who hoard objects in several ways. These differences are significant enough to warrant comment in the text description accompanying the diagnostic criteria and consideration as a subtype of hoarding disorder. More research is necessary to determine the exact relationship between object and animal hoarding.

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