Kleptomania, what it is and how to treat it

Written by: Dra. Elena Padrell
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Kleptomania is a psychological disorder, lack of impulse control. It is defined as a pattern of repetition of useless and worthless theft. That is, kleptomania is irresistible to steal that which is neither essential nor necessary momentum.

kleptomania Kleptomania is more common in women and usually appears in adolescence. People affected by this psychological disorder do not seek treatment until a few years do not pass either derived by the judiciary or to treat other psychiatric disorder.

Specialists in psychiatry say   kleptomania is necessary to differentiate the activity of a regular or occasional thief who seeks either steal to enrich seeking personal benefit or harm a stolen object owner. For the kleptomaniac, the time of the robbery and is itself the purpose of the act. Not pursue personal enrichment or the loss of the person steals.

The differential diagnosis of kleptomania, includes other psychological disorders that can lead to inappropriate behavior sporadic acts of theft. Some of these disorders are antisocial disorder, conduct disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or cognitive impairment or dementia.

Symptoms of kleptomania

Kleptomania has some common symptoms with other addictions such as:

  • High levels of anxiety in situations conducive to the act of stealing.
  • Recurrent thoughts of intrusion that would incite to commit theft.
  • Powerless to resist the urge to commit theft.
  • After committing the theft, feel a release of the pressure, it is a satisfying and rewarding feeling.
  • Once passed the previous release, then they feel guilt and remorse.

In addition, there are some characteristics that have affected people kleptomania. Highlights the fact that often get rid of what they have stolen, even throwing away or regalándoselo someone else as their goal is not to accumulate objects or enriched with it.

Kleptomania may be accompanied by other comorbidities, whether emotional such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or eating disorder or the use of illegal substances.

Treatment of kleptomania

The main problem to carry out the treatment of kleptomania with success is that the patient is often unable to ask for help. Despite being aware that he has a problem and also know the legal consequences that may acarrearle if caught in the act of stealing, as described above, does not usually go on their own feet. But once identified and recognized the problem, if there is hope of improvement with treatment, for that different techniques are used as:

  • Relaxation and breathing techniques: aim to increase control in situations of stress and anxiety.
  • Cognitive therapies: help control recurrent thoughts that arise in the time prior to the act of theft, using techniques such as detention or conversion of thought.
  • Behavioral therapies: is that the patient relearn to be in places of temptation, that is, where normally he used to steal inadvertently impulse if it occurs.
  • Communication skills: teach the patient to learn to express internal stress positively and constructively.
  • Psychotropic Drugs: are used to stabilize the patient's mood and decrease anxiety, it is often used serotonergic or mood stabilizers, and can thus promote the application of other treatments.
*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dra. Elena Padrell

The Padrell doctor graduated in medicine from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​Doctor Basic Psychopharmacology, specializing in psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Hospital School of Medicine. New York. He has extensive clinical experience in both continents. It has a special interest in mental disorders of adult and geriatric population. multidisciplinary therapeutic treatment counting on the contribution of other professionals. Subspecialty in anxiety disorders, with extensive experience in the treatment of psychological trauma of war, chronic post-traumatic syndrome, adaptive disorder with great emotional impact losses.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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