KLEPTOMANIA: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

KLEPTOMANIA – Here are things that you need to know about this mental health condition including its definition, causes, symptoms and treatment.

Kleptomania is a mental health disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to steal items, typically objects of little or no value. People with kleptomania often experience tension or anxiety before committing theft, followed by feelings of relief or gratification after stealing.

Unlike theft motivated by financial gain or necessity, kleptomania is driven by an impulse or compulsion that the individual struggles to control.


Individuals with this mental condition may steal items that they don’t need or even want, and the theft is often unplanned. They may feel a sense of shame, guilt, or remorse after stealing but still find themselves unable to resist the urge to steal again in the future.

It can lead to legal consequences, strained relationships, and emotional distress for the person affected.


The exact cause is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to a combination of factors such as:

  • Brain Chemistry – Imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which play a role in mood regulation and impulse control, may contribute to this condition.
  • Genetics – There may be a genetic predisposition to kleptomania, as it sometimes runs in families.
  • Psychological Factors – Underlying psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, or trauma, may increase the risk of developing kleptomania.


  • Individuals with kleptomania often experience a buildup of tension or anxiety before committing theft.
  • Despite feelings of guilt or remorse, stealing may temporarily alleviate the tension or anxiety experienced beforehand.
  • People with kleptomania typically steal items of little or no value that they don’t need or even want.
  • Kleptomania is characterized by recurrent episodes of stealing, often with a sense of loss of control.
  • After stealing, individuals with this behavior may experience intense feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment.


  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy helps individuals identify and challenge the thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their stealing behavior.
  • Certain medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or mood stabilizers, may be prescribed to help regulate neurotransmitters and reduce impulsivity.
  • Joining support groups or therapy groups with others who have kleptomania can provide encouragement, understanding, and guidance in managing the condition.
  • Therapy may also address any underlying psychological issues, such as anxiety or depression, that contribute to kleptomania.

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