AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Shoplifting is a very common problem in the U.S. today. Some say that they can’t help stealing because they have a disorder known as “Kleptomania.” Admitting that you suffer from Kleptomania when caught with a bag full of stolen goods will not get you off the hook. Even with a letter from your psychologist, you will probably need to go through a legal process to establish accountability.

Kleptomania versus Shoplifting Addiction

Kleptomania is different from shoplifting addiction mainly because kleptomaniacs do not plan to steal items, whereas shoplifting addicts do. Below is a table that highlights the main differences between the two.

Kleptomania Shoplifting Addiction
Person does not plan to steal. Person plans to steal and has recurring thoughts about shoplifting.
Person feels an overwhelming need/urge to steal, which is compulsive by nature. Person feels an overpowering desire to shoplift.
Person feels anxious, guilty about his/her behavior. Person shoplifts as a way of relieving feelings of anxiety.
Person feels intense pleasure while stealing. Person feels a short moment of relief after stealing.
Theft is not committed in order to express anxiety or exact revenge. Theft can be committed in order to get retribution.



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Img: Kleptomania by


Getting Help

Whether a person has Kleptomania or a stealing addiction, he must seek help in order to manage his disorder. These conditions can have serious legal consequences, and it might not matter if the stolen items were expensive or not. Once a person gets convicted of stealing, he’ll have to suffer the consequences, which usually includes paying fines, going to jail, or doing other court-appointed duties. Therefore, if you or someone you know might be suffering from this condition, seek help as soon as possible.

– Kleptomania Treatment

A combination of medication and psychotherapy is used to treat those with Kleptomania. These methods help a person to better control his disorder. Some people, however, are scared of seeking help because they are afraid that the doctor that they’ll approach will report them. But one advantage of doctor-patient confidentiality is that a doctor is not obligated to report the thefts to authorities.

Medications to manage Kleptomania include antidepressants, addiction medicines, and drugs that help in stabilizing mood. As for psychotherapy, the most common and most effective method for Kleptomania is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Here, the person has to identify improper or unhealthy practices and replace these with healthy ones. CBT also includes treatment methods, like Covert Sensitization, Aversion Therapy, and Systematic Desensitization.

– Shoplifting Addiction Treatment

Learning about the stealing addiction by reading articles or books about the disorder can help a person. But it is still best to seek help from psychologists or psychiatrists who can determine what medications are best for the individual and what psychotherapies are appropriate.

– Helping Yourself

There are also many ways that a person who suffers from Kleptomania or shoplifting addition can help himself. He can find ways to control his impulse or to distract himself. Reflecting on possible consequences is another way that will further encourage an individual to refrain from illegal acts.

About the author: Claire Taylor, is a full-time freelancer who has been doing write-ups about crime and personal injury since 2008. Many of her articles have been used by legal sites, such as .


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