Kleptomania (Causes)

Kleptomania is rare overall, but more common in females than in males. It is obviously difficult to document the precise number of people with this problem. People with kleptomania often have another psychiatric disorder, often a mood disorder such as depression and anxiety. There is indirect evidence linking it with abnormalities in the brain chemical serotonin. Some other research suggests that kleptomania may be related to addiction disorders.

Some clinicians view kleptomania as part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders, reasoning that many individuals experience the impulse to steal as an alien, unwanted intrusion into their mental state. Also, other evidence indicates that kleptomania may be related to, or a variant of, mood disorders, such as depression.

Depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse disorders are common in individuals with kleptomania.

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