AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes committed in the United State today. The term “shoplifting” includes many things, such as stealing an item or merchandise by concealing it, switching it with another product, altering its price tag to pay a cheaper price, or consuming food and beverages in the store without paying for them. In fact, according to the shoplifting and retail theft law, if you failed to pay the full price intended by the seller for any item, you will be found guilty of shoplifting.

There are also some individuals who claim that they can’t help stealing because they have a mental disorder known as kleptomania. What these shoplifters need to understand is that claiming to have this disorder will not get them off the hook. If a family member or a friend has a problem with shoplifting, it is best to understand whether he has this mental disorder or if he is simply a shoplifting addict. This article will discuss the difference between kleptomania and shoplifting addiction.

kleptomania 300x257 Is Kleptomania The Same As Shoplifting Addiction?

How To Differentiate Shoplifting Addiction From Kleptomania

Shoplifting Addiction

Just like how people get addicted to drugs and alcohol, there are also individuals who are addicted to certain acts and behavior. This kind of addiction is known as process addiction wherein the individual will continually do something they don’t want to do. Shoplifting addiction falls under this category. A person who is addicted to stealing will feel the rush or a high when they steal. If they try to stop this behavior, they will have urges and cravings. Just like drug and alcohol addiction, this compulsion controls the mind and becomes very difficult to overcome.

This addiction is quite similar to kleptomania; however, individuals who are addicted to shoplifting will feel anxious before performing the act. Other signs of addiction may include:

  • Repeated failure to resist addictive and compulsive thoughts to steal items.
  • Overwhelming desire to shoplift items
  • Feeling relieved or happy just after committing theft.
  • Theft is committed due to anger, revenge, or trying to making things right.
  • The theft is planned out in advance.


Kleptomania is quite different from shoplifting addiction. This is a serious mental health problem which is considered as an impulse control disorder. This means that the individual is unable to resist the urge or compulsion to do something even if he knows that the behavior is harmful or have severe consequences. The individuals with this disorder are driven to take things and have a hard time resisting the urge. Remember though that this condition is not the same as shoplifting addiction mainly because the kleptomaniacs do not plan on stealing items. The following is a list of the symptoms that kleptomaniacs manifest:

  • Inability to resist the compulsion to steal even if the items are useless or have no monetary value
  • Does not plan out the theft
  • The theft was not committed to exact vengeance or to express anger
  • They are often not fully aware of their actions and behavior; thus, they feel no guilt afterwards.

How To Seek Helpio

The individuals who steal compulsively may come from different backgrounds. Those who are addicted to shoplifting or those suffering from kleptomania usually feel guilt and shame long after they have committed the crime. Unfortunately, they are afraid to seek help since they are ashamed and afraid of what people will think of them. In addition, they are afraid that they might get arrested; however, it is crucial for these individuals to seek the help they need before the behavior gets out of control.

If they are unable to control this condition, sooner or later, they will get caught. If that happens, they will need to face the repercussions of their actions and behavior. Kleptomania and shoplifting addiction are not an excuse to get out of jail. If these individuals are arrested for theft charges, they will still need to go through a legal process.

About the Author: Kris Hopkins is a registered nurse who wants her readers to learn more about the mental health disorder known as Kleptomania. In this article, she discusses how Kleptomania slightly differs from shoplifting addiction.
License: Creative Commons image source


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