Kleptomania : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

 What is Kleptomania?

Kleptomania is a condition characterized by an irresistible urge to steal. folks can steal things that they are not needing, that they might afford to buy, or that have very little to no financial value. People with mania experience tension that's eased by committing the theft.

mania typically emerges someday throughout adolescence and seems a lot more normal in ladies than in men.

A person with mania features a revenant drive to steal that he or she will not resist, stealing things for the sake of stealing, not as a result of they have or need the items, or because they can not afford to shop for them. it's quite rare, associate degreed not constant issue as shoplifting.

What is Kleptomania?

mania refers to an impulse management disorder within which you develop an inability to resist urges to steal. Usually, you'll decide items that you just don't typically need, and that they additionally tend to own very little value. whereas it is a rare condition, it can cause emotional distress to you and your idolized ones.

The disorder is amid issues with self-control in behavior associated with degreed emotions. After you have an impulse management problem, you're unable to resist the temptation to try to do harmful or excessive things to you or alternative people. In addition, the condition forces you to measure a secret lifetime of shame as a result of you feeling afraid to hunt for medical help.

  1. Nervous system

Medical terms

  • Kleptomania (klep-toe-MAY-nee-uh) don't really exist, which usually have very little value. passion could be a rare however serious psychological state disorder that may cause abundant emotional pain to you and your precious ones if not treated. passion is a sort of impulse management disorder — a disorder that's characterized by issues with emotional or behavioral self-control. If you have got an impulse control disorder, you have a problem resisting the temptation or drive to perform an act that's excessive or harmful to you or somebody else. Many people with passion live lives of secret shame as a result of they're afraid to hunt psychological state treatment. Though there' no cure for kleptomania, treatment with medication or speaking medical aid (psychotherapy) might facilitate the cycle of compulsive stealing. 

  • Kleptomania is a psychological disorder in which sufferers can't control the urge to steal The difference between shoplifting and kleptomania is that shoplifters are motivated to receive an immediate reward whereas kleptomaniacs steal for some other purpose Kleptomaniacs may feel compelled to steal items of clothing or food collect things for later use (referred to as "hoarding") or may take certain objects out of a sense of thrill or excitement.

  •  Kleptomania is the irresistible impulse to steal objects that a person doesn't need or even want People with kleptomania are typically not interested in selling what they take nor do they use these objects for any practical purpose Instead they feel compelled to steal items such as books clothing and jewelry The motive behind this behavior is unknown but some experts believe that people with kleptomania might be unconsciously trying to compensate for feelings of inner emptiness or depression by possessing something material Another theory suggests that some people have a genetic predisposition for stealing because it was part.

Symptoms Kleptomania

A person with mania incorporates a continual drive to steal that he or she cannot resist. Some folks with this disorder would possibly feel guilty afterwards and even try and come back the objects they steal.

Kleptomania symptoms may include:

  • Inability to resist powerful urges to steal items that you don't need

  • Feeling increased tension, anxiety or arousal leading up to the theft

  • Feeling pleasure, relief or gratification while stealing

  • Feeling terrible guilt, remorse, self-loathing, shame or fear of arrest after the theft

  • Return of the urges and a repetition of the kleptomania cycle


People with kleptomania typically exhibit these features or characteristics:

  • Unlike typical shoplifters, people with kleptomania don't compulsively steal for personal gain, on a dare, for revenge or out of rebellion. They steal simply because the urge is so powerful that they can't resist it.

  • Episodes of kleptomania generally occur spontaneously, usually without planning and without help or collaboration from another person.

  • Most people with kleptomania steal from public places, such as stores and supermarkets. Some may steal from friends or acquaintances, such as at a party.

  • Often, the stolen items have no value to the person with kleptomania, and the person can afford to buy them.

  • The stolen items are usually stashed away, never to be used. Items may also be donated, given away to family or friends, or even secretly returned to the place from which they were stolen.

  • Urges to steal may come and go or may occur with greater or lesser intensity over the course of time.

When to see a doctor

If you can't stop larceny or stealing, seek medical advice. many of us who might have cacoethes don't wish to hunt treatment as a result of they're afraid they'll be inactive or jailed. However, a skilled mental state usually doesn't report your thefts to authorities. Some people seek medical help because they're afraid they'll get caught and have legal consequences. Or they've already been arrested, and they're lawfully needed to seek treatment.

If a loved one has kleptomania

If you believe an in depth friend or friend may have passion, gently raise your issues along with your wanted one. confine mind that kleptomania could be a psychological state condition, not a personality flaw, thus approach your loved one while not blaming or accusing. it's going to be useful to emphasize these points:

  • You're concerned because you care about your loved one's health and well-being.

  • You're worried about the risks of compulsive stealing, such as being arrested, losing a job or damaging a valued relationship.

  • You understand that, with kleptomania, the urge to steal may be too strong to resist just by "putting your mind to it."

  • Treatments are available that may help to minimize the urge to steal and live without addiction and shame.

If you would like to facilitate making ready for this conversation, speak together with your doctor. He or she could refer you to a mental state expert who will assist you in arranging the simplest way of raising your considerations while not making your honey feel defensive or threatened.

Causes Kleptomania

Little is understood concerning the precise reason for cacoethes. Researchers are watching a doable link between impulse management disorders — together with kleptomania — and sure chemicals within the brain known as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters facilitate nerve cells in the brain send messages to each other. AN imbalance of those chemicals will have an effect on however the brain controls impulses. It's believed that major stress would possibly trigger impulsive behavior. individuals with kleptomania usually produce other mental disorders as well. The foremost common are depression, anxiety, ingestion disorders and misuse disorders. This implies that there additionally may be a link between these disorders and also the development of cacoethes.The reason for kleptomania isn't known. Many theories counsel that changes within the brain are also at the foundation of kleptomania. additional analysis is required to raised perceive these doable causes, however kleptomania may be connected to:

  • Problems with a naturally occurring brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate moods and emotions. Low levels of monoamine neurotransmitters are common in individuals at risk of impulsive behaviors. 

  • Addictive disorders. Stealing might cause the discharge of Dopastat (another neurotransmitter). Dopastat causes gratifying feelings, and a few folks look for this gratifying feeling once more and again. 

  • The brain's opioid system. Urges are regulated by the brain's opioid system. An imbalance in this system could make it harder to resist urges.

Risk factors Kleptomania

Kleptomania is considered uncommon. However, people with mania might ne'er request treatment, or they're merely unfree once recurrent thefts, so some cases of kleptomania may never be diagnosed. mania usually begins throughout the teenage years or in young adulthood, however will begin in adulthood or later. A simple fraction of individuals with renowned kleptomania are women. 

Kleptomania risk factors may include:

  • Family history. Having a first-degree relative, adore a parent or sibling, with kleptomania, psychoneurotic disorder, or Associate in Nursing alcohol or different substance use disorder could increase the danger of kleptomania. 

  • Having another mental illness. People with kleptomania often have another mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, an eating disorder, substance use disorder or a personality disorder.

Complications Kleptomania

Left untreated, cacoethes may result in severe emotional, family, work, legal and monetary problems. For example, you recognize stealing is wrong, however you're feeling inundated to resist the impulse, thus you'll be wracked by guilt, shame, self-loathing and humiliation. And you may be inactive for stealing. you'll otherwise lead a moral, honorable life and be confused and upset by your compulsive stealing.

Other complications and conditions associated with kleptomania may include:

  • Other impulse-control disorders, such as compulsive gambling or shopping

  • Alcohol and substance misuse

  • Personality disorders

  • Eating disorders

  • Depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Anxiety

  • Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and suicide

Prevention Kleptomania

Because the reason behind cacoethes isn't clear, they noted a way to prevent it with any certainty. obtaining treatment as shortly as compulsive stealing begins could facilitate preventing kleptomania from turning into worse and forestall a number of the negative consequences.

Is kleptomania a mental illness?

Kleptomania is a disorder that causes someone to steal items without the intent to use or consume them Instead those who have kleptomania often feel compelled to take things simply because they want them Kleptomaniacs may also experience guilt or anxiety after a theft However this condition is still widely misunderstood as most people don't consider it a mental illness.

How can kleptomania be prevented?

The key to preventing kleptomania is learning how to cope with the stressor that triggers it Addressing underlying issues such as financial problems relationship difficulties or feelings of inadequacy may help prevent kleptomania Also making a list of important tasks to be done can give you a feeling of control and accomplishment that reduces stressors and helps keep symptoms at bay If you are aware of your reasons for stealing trying not to do so will help prevent further occurrences.

Is kleptomania a crime?

Kleptomania is not listed in the DSM-5 and it is difficult to track how many people experience it because they usually do not seek help It can be classified as a compulsive disorder that causes an individual to steal objects or things sometimes without even realizing he or she has stolen these items The most common items stolen are food money and drugs.

How can I help my kleptomaniac child?

Distraction Therapy: Children respond well to positive distraction A therapeutic game such as a puzzle or toy that can be played daily with the parent over a month-long period may help children overcome their kleptomania There are also cognitive behavioral techniques designed to address the underlying beliefs and behaviors associated with kleptomania.

Diagnosis Kleptomania

Kleptomania typically} diagnosed by a doc or psychological state professional. As a result of mania unremarkably co-occurs with different conditions akin to feeding disorders, substance and alcohol abuse, and anxiety disorders, it's often diagnosed once folks are named a doctor for his or her comorbid psychiatric symptoms. diagnosing might also occur if the symptoms of kleptomania have crystal rectifiers to an arrest for stealing. Upon initial examination by a medical doctor, the patient is also referred to a man of science or specialist for additional evaluation. diagnosing may involve utilizing patient interviews and a review of legal records. Administering psychology scales such as the mania Symptoms Assessment Scale (K-SAS) or the Yale Brown obsessive Compulsive Scale, changed for mania (K-YBOCS) might also be helpful in creating a diagnosis. The close lipped nature of the disorder, also as associated feelings of guilt and shame, will interfere with diagnosis and treatment. In some cases, folks solely receive a diagnosis and treatment because of contact with the system as a result of being caught committing a theft. Once you arrange to ask for treatment for symptoms of attainable kleptomania, you will have a physical and psychological analysis. The physical evaluation can confirm if there are also any medical causes triggering your symptoms.

Kleptomania is diagnosed based on your signs and symptoms. Because it's a type of impulse control disorder, to help pinpoint a diagnosis, your doctor may:

  1. Mental And Psychological Examination

  • Ask questions about your impulses and how they make you feel

  • Review a list of situations to ask if these situations trigger your kleptomania episodes

  • Have you fill out psychological questionnaires or self-assessments

  • Use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association

Treatment Kleptomania

Psychotherapy (a style of counseling) is the main treatment for impulse management disorders. The goal of medical care is to assist the person perceive why he or she acts on the impulse, and to find out a way to reply to the urges in an exceedingly many applicable ways. It is also vital to treat the other disorders that may be present, admire depression or anxiety. Treatment for passion usually focuses on behavior management. In some cases, medication can be used as a part of the treatment program. sure medicinal drug medications, referred to as selective monoamine neurotransmitter uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), might be helpful in helping to curb terribly intense urges. alternative medications are being studied to be used in folks with kleptomania. One drug, narcotic {antagonist} (Revia®, Vivitrol®), has shown some promise in dominant impulse-based behavior. The drug is currently accustomed to facilitate alcoholics' management of the urge to drink. Though fear, humiliation or embarrassment could make it exhausting for you to hunt for treatment for kleptomania, it's vital to induce help. Passion is tough to beat on your own. While not treated, kleptomania can seemingly be an ongoing, semi permanent condition. Treatment of kleptomania usually involves medications and psychotherapy, or both, typically along with aid groups. However, there's no normal passion treatment, and researchers are still making an attempt to grasp what may fit best. you will need to strive for many styles of treatment to search out what works well for you.


There's very little research project regarding mistreatment of medical specialty medications to treat kleptomania. And there's no FDA-approved medication for kleptomania. However, sure medications could help, depending on your state of affairs and whether or not you've got alternative mental state disorders, cherish depression or substance misuse.

Your doctor may consider prescribing:

  • An addiction medication called naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, which may reduce the urges and pleasure associated with stealing

  • An antidepressant — specifically a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

  • Other medications or a combination of medications

If medication is prescribed, ask your doctor, mental health professional or pharmacist about potential side effects or possible interactions with any other medications.


A sort of psychotherapy known as psychological feature activity medical care helps you establish unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones. psychological feature behavioral therapy might embrace these techniques to assist you management mania urges:

  • Covert sensitization, in which you picture yourself stealing and then facing negative consequences, such as being caught

  • Aversion therapy, in which you practice mildly painful techniques, such as holding your breath until you become uncomfortable, when you get an urge to steal

  • Systematic desensitization, in which you practice relaxation techniques and picture yourself controlling urges to steal

Avoiding relapses

It's commonplace to possess relapses of kleptomania. To assist avoid relapses, make certain to stay to your treatment plan. If you are feeling urges to steal, contact your mental state skilled or reach intent on a trusty person or support group.

Coping and support

You can take steps to worry for yourself with healthy header skills whereas obtaining skilled treatment:

  • Stick to your treatment plan. Take medications as directed and attend scheduled  medical care sessions. Remember, it's diligence and you will have occasional setbacks. 

  • Educate yourself. Learn about kleptomania so that you can better understand risk factors, treatments and triggering events.

  • Identify your triggers. Identify situations, thoughts and feelings that may trigger urges to steal so you can take steps to manage them.

  • Get treatment for substance abuse or other mental health problems. Your substance use, depression, anxiety and stress will feed off every other, resulting in a cycle of unhealthy behavior. 

  • Find healthy outlets. Explore healthy ways to rechannel your urges to steal or shoplift through exercise and recreational activities.

  • Learn relaxation and stress management. Try such stress-reduction techniques as meditation, yoga or tai chi.

  • Stay focused on your goal. Recovery from kleptomania can take time. Stay motivated by keeping your recovery goals in mind and reminding yourself that you can work to mend damaged relationships, financial and legal issues. 

Support for loved ones

If your loved one is being treated for kleptomania, make sure you understand the details of the treatment plan and actively support their success. It may be helpful to attend one or more therapy sessions with your loved one to become familiar with the factors that seem to trigger urges to steal and the most effective ways to deal with them.

 You may also benefit from speaking to a therapist yourself. Recovery from an impulse control disorder is a challenging long-term task for both  the person with the disorder and those closest to him or her. Make sure you take care of your own needs with the stress-reducing options that work best for you, such as: B. exercise, meditation or time with friends.

Self-help groups

People with kleptomania may benefit from attending support groups based on 12-step programs. Even if you can't find a specific group  for kleptomania, you may benefit from attending Alcoholics Anonymous or other addiction meetings. Such groups aren't for everyone, so ask your psychiatrist about alternatives.

Preparing for your appointment

If you struggle with an irresistible urge to steal, talk over with your doctor. Having that discussion can without doubt be scary, however trust that your doctor is curious about caring for your health, not in decision making. Your doctor may refer you to a mental state professional, cherish a psychiatrist, with expertise in identification and treating kleptomania. you'll wish to require a trustworthy  friend or friend to assist bear in mind the details. In addition, somebody who has acknowledged you for a protracted time is also able to ask queries or share data with the mental health professional that you just don't bear in mind to bring up. Here's some data to assist you make preparations and grasp what to expect from your doctor or mental state.

What you can do

To prepare for your appointment, make a list of:

  • Any symptoms you're experiencing, and for how long

  • Key personal information, including traumatic events in your past and any current, major stressors

  • Your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed

  • All medications you're taking, including any vitamins, herbs or other supplements, and the dosages

  • Questions to ask your mental health professional so that you can make the most of your appointment

Some questions to ask your mental health professional may include:

  • Why can't I stop stealing?

  • What treatments are available?

  • What treatments are most likely to work for me?

  • How quickly might I stop stealing?

  • Will I still feel the urge to steal?

  • How often do I need therapy sessions and for how long?

  • Are there medications that can help?

  • What are the possible side effects of these medications?

  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?

  • How can my family best support my treatment?

  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your mental health professional

To better understand your symptoms and how they're affecting your life, your mental health professional may ask:

  • At what age did you first experience an irresistible urge to steal?

  • How often do you experience the urge to steal?

  • Have you ever been caught or arrested for stealing?

  • How would you describe your feelings before, during and after you steal something?

  • What kinds of items do you steal? Are they things you need?

  • In what kinds of situations are you likely to steal?

  • What do you do with the items you steal?

  • Does anything in particular seem to trigger your urge to steal?

  • How is your urge to steal affecting your life, including school, work and personal relationships?

  • Have any of your close relatives had a problem with compulsive stealing or with other mental health conditions, such as depression or alcohol or drug misuse?

  • Do you use alcohol or recreational drugs? What and how often?

  • Have you been treated for any other mental health problems, such as eating disorders? If yes, what treatments were most effective?

  • Are you currently being treated for any medical conditions?

General summary

  1. A kleptomaniac is someone who has a psychological compulsion to steal and hoard items they have stolen Kleptomaniacs often live out of suitcases boxes or bags because their homes are full of things that have been taken from other people's houses businesses or public places This disorder tends to run in families and it can severely damage relationships with friends and family members Treatment for kleptomania includes medication and therapy aimed at addressing the underlying issues surrounding this mental illness With the right types of help most kleptomaniacs can begin enjoying more productive lives.

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