Kleptomania is defined as a constant habit of stealing items that the individual doesn’t need to use or sell in order to get money. Kleptomaniacs can afford to buy the items they steal but they derive intense pleasure from getting away with stealing things that don’t belong to them. The stealing is not done to express anger or in response to delusions or hallucinations.
Kleptomania is often seen in individuals with bulimia or obsessive compulsive disorder. Some kleptomaniacs steal in order to calm their intense feelings of anxiety while others experience feelings of guilt, remorse, and self-loathing after stealing. Kleptomania tends to be a rare condition and appears more often in women than among men.
Most kleptomaniacs have other psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and drug addiction. The onset of Kleptomania varies and can begin during childhood, early adulthood, or even in late adulthood. Research has shown that pyromania has many ties to kleptomania because many pyromaniacs begin fires next to petty theft that resembles kleptomania.
General symptoms include an intense urge to steal; a feeling of anxiety, fear, or relief right after completing the theft, compulsive stealing, lack of malice, and lack of conduct disorders or manic episodes.
Treatment involves cognitive behavioral therapy and medications such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil which are known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that increase the amount of serotonin within the brain.