Causes Of Kleptomania

Kleptomania is a type of disorder which is characterized by repeated thoughts of stealing and attempts to steal. It is often seen in patients who are chemically dependent and also those who have coexisting mood disorders like anxiety disorder. It may come together with an eating disorder as well.

There are many other mental disorders which may accompany kleptomania. These are depression, social phobia, panic attacks, bulimia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder and substance abuse. People suffering from this disorder will generally experience a thrill while doing the action. The stolen items are usually restricted objects. Usually after the action the sufferer will have a feeling of guilt for what they have done.

Some of the symptoms which are common for this disorder are the very powerful urge to steal things, increased tension during the action, pleasure and satisfaction after the action and later a feeling of guilt when thinking about the theft.


The exact cause of kleptomania is still not known. But there are several theories. The most widely accepted one says that changes in the brain are the main reason for the disorder and the respective behavior. When there are changes in level of the brain chemical, which is called serotonin, there might be an onset in the disorder. Serotonin is the chemical which helps for regulating the mood and emotions and when the serotonin level gets lower then an onset of the disorder will occur.

This disorder can also be related to some other addictive disorders or behaviors which trigger the release of the chemical dopamine. Dopamine stimulates the feeling of pleasure which the person with the disorder experiences when engaging in the specific behavior. There are some people who will feel the urge to experience this feeling again and again. This disorder can also be caused by a head injury. More research is needed for a better understanding of the causes of the kleptomania disorder.

There are many risk factors for this disorder. People who have a family history of kleptomania are at higher risk. This is also true for those who have some kind of head injury. Those who have some other mental illness are at greater risk of developing this disorder. So it is best to seek some treatment to get rid of the disorder.

There are many treatments that are coming forward to cure the disorder but before the treatment proper diagnosis should be done in order to confirm the condition. After the diagnosis, treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy or medication can be used.

If left untreated kleptomania might lead to many complications like:

  • Arrest
  • Social isolation
  • Imprisonment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Compulsive gambling and shopping
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorder

It is essential to get treatment for the kleptomania disorder which can be suggested by the doctor. So, it is best to consult a doctor if you have any of the symptoms of the condition.

« Prev Post