Kleptomania has had mentions in movies and web series that have made people a little familiar with the term. It actually is a serious disorder that induces a compelling yearning to ransack items that aren’t even needed sometimes.
Have you watched the American web show ‘Trinkets’? This show is based on the life of three girls Elodie, Tabitha, and Moe, all with their own set of issues and problems and to cope up with them, they start shoplifting.
Stealing simply means taking things that don't belong to you and have been taken without permission. But every thief doesn’t steal deliberately. Yes, stealing can also be the outcome of poor impulse control or addictive compulsive disorders.
People with kleptomania feel the strong urge to steal, with distress, disagreement, and arousal steering up to the theft and feeling satisfaction and solace after the theft. Though in some cases, kleptomaniacs may feel sinful or ashamed after the act of stealing is over but are incapable of suppressing the urge.
Dr Deepti Puranik, Assistant Professor, Amity Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Amity University Mumbai, said, “Kleptomania is an urge to steal. It is considered as a part of the impulse control disorder since it is difficult for an individual to control his impulses. When they steal, there is no malice in their heart. It is more because of the urge they can’t suppress.”
“No specific cause has been found for this disorder but the possibility of biological and neuropsychological reasons cannot be ruled out. It is extremely difficult for these individuals to seek treatment as they are scared that they would be punished for stealing. It might run in the family. Also, it has been found that many kleptomaniacs may also have some other personality disorders, making it more complicated,” she concluded.
However, this condition can't be cured but can get better. It can last for years or can be lifelong. This disorder is considered uncommon, while some people with kleptomania may never seek treatment or are jailed after repeated thefts.