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Kleptomania is a form of impulse control disorder. It is diagnosed based on the signs and symptoms. The disorder is defined as the recurring inability to resist the urge to steal items that are generally not needed and have little value. The disorder is rare but should is still very serious. People with kleptomania can endure intense emotional pain. If you are battling this disorder and need help, reach out to a trusted medical professional to treat kleptomania. People with kleptomania can live a full, happy life with proper treatment. 

Symptoms and Characteristics of Kleptomania

  • Inability to resist the impulse to steal, even if the items are not needed 
  • Feeling anxious, tense, or aroused in the moments leading up to the theft
  • Feelings relief, gratification, or pleasure while stealing
  • Feeling awful, guilt, remorse, shame, etc. after theft
  • Continuing the cycle 
  • Compulsive stealing, even if the items have little or no monetary value or if the person can afford to buy the items  
  • Spontaneous episodes of kleptomania 
  • Stealing from public places and even friends or family 
  • Hiding stolen items 

Cause of Kleptomania

There is no known cause for kleptomania, though there are several theories. Some of those include the following:

  • Problems with serotonin
  • Addictive disorders
  • The brain’s opioid system 

If you have been diagnosed with kleptomania and need help, reach out. A residential treatment center may be beneficial in your recovery journey. 

Co-Occurring Disorders

A person with kleptomania may also have co-occurring disorders that can benefit from behavioral therapy or other treatment programs:

  • Eating disorder 
  • Depression disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder 
  • Other personality disorders 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Other mood disorders
  • Alcohol abuse 
  • Substance use disorders 

Types of Treatment for Kleptomania 

Sometimes when diagnosed with a mental disorder like kleptomania, extra help is needed to manage the diagnosis and learn to overcome the impulse to steal. Those programs include inpatient rehab, intensive outpatient, cognitive behavioral therapy, covert sensitization, aversion therapy, systematic desensitization, medication, and support groups. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with kleptomania and needs help managing your symptoms, contact a behavioral health professional to discuss the best treatment method.

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