What Is Kleptomania?
Kleptomania is when you cannot resist the urge to steal unneeded items. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 1.2 million Americans have kleptomania. This is an impulse control disorder that involves you to have emotional and self-control problems. It is important for kleptomaniacs to seek treatment before you end up incarcerated and hurting your loved ones.
The symptoms of kleptomania follow feeling a high whenever you steal. You also feel guilty, shame, and self-loathing after stealing and are afraid of getting caught. There is also a great feeling of tension, arousal, and anxiety that can lead to theft. The urge to steal becomes so powerful that it is hard to resist. The act of stealing happens spontaneously. Kleptomaniacs do not steal because they are poor or because they have been eyeing on that item for so long. It is all for the please they seek knowing that the item is right next to them and that they have the power to take it. Many do not even use the items they steal but to stash them away, donate them, or secretly return them back to where they stole the item from.
Kleptomania can start as young as teen years or young adulthood. It can be passed down by relatives with either Kleptomania, substance abuse, or OCD. With Kleptomania, you can develop bipolar, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders or personality disorders. Even those with head trauma or a brain injury can develop this disorder.
Kleptomania must be treated in order to prevent yourself from ruining your life. All of the guilt and shame felt after stealing can cause you to hate yourself. You can be arrested for shoplifting which follows imprisonment, further preventing you from getting a job.
To be treated for Kleptomania, there are antidepressants to take or opioid antagonists to be able to reduce the urge and pleasure you get from stealing. There are different kinds of therapy such as covert therapy where you picture yourself stealing and facing the dire consequences like getting caught. Aversion therapy is when you do mildly painful things whenever you feel like stealing such as holding your breath until you feel uncomfortable. There is also systematic desensitization where you can learn to control your urge to steal as well as relaxation techniques. It is important to take control of your life instead of letting your addiction control you.