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Kleptomania Its Characteristics And Treatments

Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 1


Kleptomania is a disease, which forces an individual to steal items from others without the motivation of any financial gain or for personal use. The disease was first described in the year 1816 kleptomania is classified in psychiatry as an impulse control disorder.  There is a difference between ordinary theft and (whether planned or impulsive) is deliberate and is motivated by the usefulness of the object or its monetary value. On the other hand, with kleptomania the re is the recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal items even though the items are not needed for personal use or for their personal use. The disease is frequently under diagnosed and is regularly associated with other psychiatric disorders particularly anxiety and eating disorders and alcohol and substance abuse.

Characteristics of a kleptomaniac

Some of the main characteristics of the disorder suggests that kleptomaniacs are obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder and share similarities with addictive and mood disorders. The patients of kleptomania show anxiety and often used to consume alcohol. They used to give abusive words and become very violent if some one try to give them any suggestions. The patients also have great level of stress guilt and remorse and privacy issues accompanying the act of stealing. The patients always try to steal some thing and they feel pleasure by doing that. They can steal any thing, that is, from very common things to very precious metals and other items. They like to irritate their family member by stealing any important thing that may be essential for his or her family.  These symptoms suggest that kleptomania could be regarded as an obsessive-compulsive type of disorder.

People diagnosed with kleptomania often have other type of disorders involving mood anxiety eating impulse control and drug use. They used to steal money may be to buy alcohol or drugs. The characteristics of the behaviors associated with stealing could result in other problems as well which include they may be separated from the society and substance abuse.

The kleptomaniacs used to steal to fill an emotional or physical void in their lives. Stealing may be caused by jealousy, low self-esteem or peer pressure. Social feeling excluded or overlooked can also cause stealing. The cause of kleptomania is unknown although it may have a generic component and may be transmitted among first degree relative. There also seems to be a strong propensity for kleptomania to coexist with obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa and clinical depression.

Kleptomania is the inability to refrain from the urge of stealing items and is usually done for reasons other than personal use or financial gain. It is for the nervous disorder that the patient feels that any hoe he or she should steal some items from anywhere and that stealing give them pleasure.

People suffering from kleptomania typically exhibit these features or characteristics

Unlike typical thieves, people with kleptomania do not 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 not stop themselves from stealing.

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.

Often it is found that the items stolen by kleptomaniacs are of no value to the person with kleptomania and the person can afford to buy that by its own.

The stolen items are usually stashed away never to be used. Items may not 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 .

The other characteristics of the kleptomaniac patient are stated below

Other impulse control disorder, such as compulsive gambling or shopping

Alcohol and substance misuse

Personality disorders

Eating disorders


Bipolar disorder


Suicidal thoughts suicides attempts and commit suicide.

Possible treatments for kleptomania

It is found that due to fear and embarrassment people odes not want to make proper treatment of kleptomania but its very important to take proper treatment for kleptomania. Without proper treatment, kleptomania may become long-term and ongoing diseases.

Medication and psychotherapy are the main treatment for kleptomania in the modern days doctors also use some advanced medicines to prevent kleptomania. However there is no standard treatment for kleptomania and researchers are still trying to find out the correct method for  treating kleptomania.


There are little scientific research about using psychiatric medications to treat kleptomania. There is no FDA approved medication for kleptomania. However certain medications may help depending on the condition of the patient and whether the patient have other mental health disorders such as depression or substance misuse.

The doctor may consider the 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

Other medication or a combination of medications

If the doctor prescribes medication then the patient should ask the doctor about the potential side effects or possible interactions with any other medication.


A form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy helps  the patient to identify the unhealthy negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy positive thoughts. Cognitive behavioral therapy may include this technique to help the patient to control kleptomania urges.

Covert sensitization in which the patient picture himself stealing and then facing negative consequences such as being caught.

Aversion therapy, in this kind of therapy the patient practice mildly painful techniques such as holding the breath until the patient feel uncomfortable. This method the patient should apply when he or she feel the urge of stealing.

Systematic desensitization in this kind od therapy the patient practice relaxation technique and picture himself controlling urges for stealing.


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