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Kleptomania is a psychological condition that causes the individual to be unable to resist the impulses to subtract objects . This is a complex disorder characterized by repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop shoplifting.

A person with kleptomania feels uncontrollable urges to steal objects that do not belong to them . Often the things they steal are of little value, and the items they take are not needed for personal use or for monetary value.

Kleptomaniacs experience a lot of tension before the robbery , some even begin to have panic attacks and phobia during the attempt to withdraw, others present feelings of pleasure, excitement and gratification when committing the theft.

The act of removing a foreign object is not performed for the purpose of expressing anger or revenge , and it is not attributed to conduct disorder , manic episode, or antisocial personality disorder . In fact, some kleptomaniacs are not even aware at the time that they have committed a robbery.

This disorder occurs mostly in women and begins to develop in the majority after the age of 35, although cases of kleptomania that started in childhood have been found.

Causes of kleptomania

The exact causes that generate this disorder have not yet been identified, but according to some research it is linked to abnormalities in the brain neurotransmitter that regulates mood and emotions ( serotonin ) . It is also believed that factors such as excess stress and anxiety can precipitate kleptomaniac behavior.

Generally, other types of psychological disorders are found in people with kleptomania. These disorders can be: depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder .

A theory that refers to this disorder proposes that the emotion that depressed people experience when stealing helps them alleviate the symptoms of depression , which is why it follows that people with depression are some of the most prone to suffer from this disorder .

The pleasant feelings that some kleptomaniacs present at the end of the criminal act, are due to the fact that the adrenaline caused in the individual during the robbery causes the release of dopamine -neurotransmitter that causes pleasant feelings- . For this reason, some people with irregular moods become addicted to dopamine and steal repeatedly looking for that pleasant feeling over and over again.

Symptoms of kleptomania

Some of the most common symptoms that people with kleptomania present are:

  • Inability to resist urges to steal items you don’t need
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Excitement and excitement
  • Feeling of guilt and shame
  • Post-robbery depression
  • Pleasure or relief in committing the criminal act
  • Fear of being persecuted or arrested by authorities
  • Panic attacks
  • Denial of the episode


Kleptomania is a psychopathology, and like all psychopathology it should be treated by a trained mental health professional.

It is normal to hear that several people who suffer from kleptomania do not want to seek treatment for fear of being arrested or imprisoned, but there is something called a professional secret or confidentiality agreement that protects the patient from prejudice, and their secrets cannot be revealed unless they attempt against the life itself of the patient or that of another person.

It is important that if we find ourselves in front of a person suffering from this disorder, we take control of the situation and seek professional help as soon as possible.

One of the most effective treatments for kleptomania is psychotherapy . With psychotherapy we try to help the patient understand what is happening to him and find the focus that causes the disorder. You will also be advised to change certain habits in your life that are not healthy for the proper development of your mental health.

Psychotherapy treatment can be complemented with drugs, which your therapist will prescribe if necessary. Some of the medications used for people diagnosed with kleptomania are: fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, trazodone, and valproate.

Some people choose to complement psychotherapy with relaxation exercises that help reduce anxiety and stress. These exercises can include: meditation, physical exercises such as jogging or biking, yoga, Pilates, outdoor activities, a walk on the beach, or any type of activity that creates relaxation and inner peace.


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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