Kleptomania: Top Five Symptoms

Thursday, 28 Oct 2010 04:02 PM

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Kleptomania is a well known impulse-control disorder characterized by an intense urge to steal things. A person suffering from this disorder experiences a compulsive urge to steal things, usually of trivial value. It often occurs among people with obsessive compulsive disorder or bulimia.
 
Here are the top five symptoms of kleptomania:
 
1. An intense urge to steal: This is the most prominent of all kleptomania symptoms. Kleptomaniacs do not need the items they steal. In fact, very often, these items are not even used by them. Items could include paper clips, pens, flowers, spoons, or pencils. Kleptomaniacs are usually anxious, stressed, and tense. They steal in order to calm themselves. Stealing is the only way they can relieve themselves of this tension. Kleptomania signs include restlessness and unexplained anxiety before stealing.
 
2. A feeling of relief, fear, or anxiety after stealing: Some kleptomaniacs feel a sense of relief after stealing. They may even feel calm after the episode. On the other hand, others may exhibit symptoms such as guilt, remorse, fear, and self-loathing. However, almost all find it impossible to control their kleptomania, and as a result, the cycle repeats itself sooner or later.
 
3. Lack of malice: People suffering from this impulse-control disorder do not hold a grudge against the person they are stealing from. This is one of  the symptoms of kleptomania that differentiates shop-lifters and kleptomaniacs. Kleptomaniacs do not steal for personal gain. They steal because they find it almost impossible to control their urge. They do not target a particular individual or a shop for a specific reason. They steal to alleviate their anxiety.
 
4. Compulsive stealing: This is one of the symptoms of kleptomania  that makes it an impulse disorder. These people steal regularly, mostly from public places. Although some of them feel guilty after stealing, the anxiety and need for euphoria sets in again, making them repeat the act.
 
5. Lack of conduct disorder or manic episodes: Kleptomania symptoms do not include antisocial or manic behavior. People exhibiting signs of kleptomania do not need an accomplice; they stealthily pick an item and leave the place. The item is stashed away along with other stolen items from different places. They do not behave inappropriately or suffer from conduct disorders. They do not get violent or psychotic. They just steal, compulsively.
 
If you happen to encounter a kleptomaniac, please observe closely and approach a psychotherapist with a list of their symptoms. Try and ensure that the person suffering from the problem receives adequate help, immediately.

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