Mental Health Issues of Hoarding

Hoarding of inanimate objects has been linked to a variety of psychological disorders, and a significant percentage of animal hoarders are eventually institutionalized or placed under some type of protective care. The hoarding of inanimate objects is a relatively new area of study in the psyhological and psychiatric literature, and even less has been reported about the sub-category of animal hoarding. Experts are still unsure of the exact causes for hoarding, and since the behavior is seen in a range of disorders, it is likely that a variety of conditions can ultimately result in pathological hoarding.

Hoarding is characterized in DSM-IV (the bible of psyciatric disorders) as a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). There is very little literature about treatment, and what exists suggests that hoarders may be particularly resistant to both psychotherapy and commonly used medications.

The following literature from Medline (National Library of Medicine) summarizes what has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals about hoarding as of February, 2004:

Medline Literature Review

Several possible underlying mechanisms have been identified which might explain at least some cases of animal hoarding, described in the following paper published in Psychiatric Times, 2000:

People Who Hoard Animals - Psychiatric Times
editors note:very long highly detailed article worth reading

Recommendations for Therapists


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Mark Pennington -Mystre Bengals - Founder