Kleptomania Myths and Facts: Kleptomania is usually a recurring voluntary urge to steal, without considering needs or interests.
Kleptomania is not the same as shoplifting. Most shoplifters do it because they want something, need it, or can’t afford it, or because of pressure from their peers, as in the case of certain boy shoplifters. .. However, kleptomania leads to theft as a result of impulsive dysregulation. This can affect people of all ages. Impulsive dysregulation is a mental illness characterized by an impulse or the inability to sustain it, and as a result, behave in a dangerous or destructive manner. People in such a state recognize that acting on their own impulses can harm themselves and others, but resisting or stopping their behavior. You can not.
Shoplifting occurs frequently, but actual kleptomania is rare (0.3-0.6% of the general population). It is estimated that kleptomania affects 4% to 24% of shoplifters. This condition is characterized by secrecy and dishonesty, so it is impossible to determine the exact number of people suffering from it. Females are more prone to kleptomania than men.
Kleptomania Myths and Facts: Causes of kleptomania
The specific cause of kleptomania remains unknown. Researchers are investigating possible associations with impulsive dysregulation such as kleptomania and neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow nerve cells in the brain to communicate with each other. Imbalances in these substances can impair the brain’s ability to control impulses. Great stress is believed to be the cause of impulsive behavior.
Dopamine, the “happy” hormone, plays a role in the onset of kleptomania. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in our brain’s reward system, and its release is associated with pleasure. As a result, the joy and fulfillment experienced by kleptomania during the act of stealing promotes periodic indulgence in the act.
In addition to dopamine, serotonin is another hormone associated with the development of kleptomania. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that governs our mood and well-being. As a result, low serotonin levels and high dopamine levels increase the risk of developing kleptomania.
Kleptomania often suffers from a variety of mental illnesses. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and drug addiction are the most common. This means that there may be a link between these illnesses and the onset of kleptomania.
Symptoms of kleptomania
Kleptomania will feel extreme remorse and guilt after the act of stealing. Along with that, the common symptoms are:
- I can’t resist the temptation to steal objects frequently.
- The purpose of stealing is not for personal gain or the monetary value of the item.
- Stealing is not a way of expressing personal anger, retaliation, or rebellion.
- Other illnesses are not the cause of theft (eg conduct disorder, antisocial personality disorder, major depressive disorder)
- In the event of theft, the patient feels joy, fulfillment, or relaxation.
Kleptomania myths and facts
Kleptomania is often mistaken for a simple act of shoplifting. It’s not just about stealing for personal gain or joy. The general myths and facts about kleptomania are:
- Shoplifters are called kleptomania.
People who suffer from kleptomania indulge in shoplifting, but they are not like regular shoplifters. Unlike other shoplifters, they do not pre-organize robbers, profit, take accurate revenge, or show rebellion. They usually steal the spurs of the moment without planning or asking for the help of others.
- Kleptomania is a symptom of hysteria.
This impulsive dysregulation, like many other mental illnesses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was thought to be caused by female reproductive disorders. This is currently proven to be incorrect.
Kleptomania is terrible. People of all ages, genders, and life walks can suffer from this condition. Fortunately, many of the stigma associated with mental illness has disappeared due to modern psychology, and people can now receive appropriate treatment when needed.
- Pyromania and kleptomania are often found together in the same person.
As mentioned earlier, many kleptomaniars also suffer from other impulse regulation problems that may include arson habits. Many people who are obsessed with stealing may also be obsessed with obstacles related to other impulses, such as setting fire to someone else’s property.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder and certain eating disorders are similar to kleptomania.
There is no universal consensus among psychologists, but many believe that kleptomania is an impulsive dysregulation caused by intrusive and obsessive thoughts about stealing. Many kleptomania do not steal valuable things. Rather, they steal what gives them a sense of comfort and enjoyment, and rely on the act of stealing them in the same way that others rely on drugs as a coping mechanism for their difficulties.
- Kleptomania can stop stealing if needed.
Kleptomania finds it very difficult to stop stealing. Kleptomania is classified as impulsive dysregulation. Impulsive dysregulation is a type of disorder in which a person has difficulty controlling emotions and behaviors and, as a result, can indulge in spontaneous abnormal behavior. They know that shoplifting and theft are illegal, but they can’t stop themselves. They are essentially thieves who do not want to steal, but cannot stop stealing.
- Kleptomania only gets valuables.
People with kleptomania steal things to satisfy their willingness to steal, according to diagnostic criteria. They often steal items they don’t need or want, just hide them and never see them again, or they may donate them or return them to their original owner / location. People who suffer from kleptomania need to seek medical assistance. Kleptomania, like any other addiction, can be successfully cured, even if people are afraid or embarrassed. It should be emphasized that medical professionals do not reveal the stealing behavior of their kleptomania patients. Therefore, the fear of being arrested by legal authorities should not discourage kleptomaniacs from being treated.
- Kleptomania does not regret the act of theft.
After stealing something, kleptomania often feels a lot of regret, regret, embarrassment, fear, and guilt. Some individuals may be concerned that their actions could lead to arrest or discovery by legal authorities. Unfortunately, for those suffering from this disease, a strong desire to steal can strike anytime, anywhere. Kleptomania frequently reports theft from public places such as supermarkets and shopping malls, as well as from more private places such as friends and family homes.
Treatment of kleptomania
Impulsive regulation problems such as kleptomania are commonly treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Its purpose is to help people who are struggling to control their urges understand why they behave and guide them through adaptive techniques to resist the urge to steal. Below are some of the approaches used in CBT to help people with impulsive dysregulation.
- Imagine a theft-related scenario and the expected consequences of stealing as a secret sensitization exercise (for example, handcuffed, approaching police, or imprisoned).
- Imaginary desensitization: Imagine their desire to steal when tempted, and eventually succeed in resisting temptation.
- Aversion therapy involves repeatedly associating unpleasant behavior with discomfort or moderate pain (for example, practicing breath-holding techniques whenever you feel the urge to steal).
- Alternative sources of fun and satisfaction: Participating in other activities that inspire individuals (eg playing sports, painting, bird watching)
Other drugs are being studied for use in patients with kleptomania. Naltrexone is one drug that has been shown to be promising for impulse-based behavioral regulation.