Kleptomania

Kleptomania is the inability to resist impulses to steal. The things that are stolen are not needed for personal use. They are also not taken for their monetary value. This is a rare condition.

  • Causes

    The exact cause of kleptomania is not known. Chemical imbalances in the brain may play a role.

    Frontal Lobe
    Frontal lobe
    Psychological disorders are sometimes the result of chemical imbalances in the brain. The frontal lobe of the brain is thought to provide impulse control.
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  • Definition

    Kleptomania is the inability to resist impulses to steal. The things that are stolen are not needed for personal use. They are also not taken for their monetary value. This is a rare condition.

  • Diagnosis

    Kleptomania is different from shoplifting or ordinary theft, which is:

    • Deliberate
    • Motivated by the stolen li's usefulness or monetary value
    • The result of a dare, an act of rebellion, or a rite of passage

    A psychiatrist or psychologist will diagnose kleptomania when:

    • All of the symptoms of kleptomania are present
    • There is no other, better explanation for repeated thefts
    • Kleptomania is not an excuse for shoplifting or ordinary theft

  • Prevention

    There are no guidelines for preventing kleptomania. The exact cause is not known.

  • Risk Factors

    Kleptomania often occurs with other psychological disorders. These include:

    • Depression
    • Anxiety

    • Substance abuse such as
      alcoholism
      and
      drug abuse

    • Eating disorders such as
      anorexia
      and
      bulimia
    • Other impulse control disorders

    Other risk factors include:

    • Having a family history of the condition
    • Having a brain injury

    Kleptomania appears to be more common in females than in males. There are no other known risk factors.

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of kleptomania include
    all
    of the following:

    • A repeated inability to resist impulses to steal things that are not of personal value
    • A feeling of relief, joy, and/or pleasure when stealing things
    • Feeling of guilt or remorse after the event
    • Thefts that are not committed out of anger or revenge
    • Lack of a better explanation for the theft, such as another psychological disorder

  • Treatment

    Treatment may involve treating an underlying disease. Other treatments include: