Kleptomania

Kleptomania is defined by a number of features including a consistent tendency to steal items not needed for personal use or monetary value. The objects are stolen despite that they are typically of little value to the individual, who could have afforded to pay for them and often gives them away or discards them.

Another aspect of kleptomania involves experiencing tension before the theft and feelings of pleasure, gratification or relief when committing the theft. The stealing is not done to express anger or vengeance, or in response to a delusion or hallucination, and is not attributed to conduct disorder, a manic episode or antisocial personality disorder.

Occasionally the individual may hoard the stolen objects or surreptitiously return them. Although someone with this disorder will generally avoid stealing when immediate arrest is probable (such as in full view of a police officer), they usually do not plan the thefts or fully take into account the chances of apprehension. The stealing is done without collaboration with others.

Kleptomania. Last reviewed 12/31/1969
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Health Information Center
  • Psychiatry Online