DOI: 10.21276/ajptr
Wed, 20 Mar 2019

Kleptomania - the Compulsion to Steal

Nasreen Sulthana1*, Meenu Singh1, K Vijaya1

1. St. Paul’s College of Pharmacy, Turkayamjal(V), Nagarjuna Sagar Road, R.R. Dist Hyderabad - 501 510, Telangana State, India.


Kleptomania is the inability to refrain from the urge to steal items and is done for reasons other than personal financial gain. It is a type of impulsive control disorder. Impulse control disorders (ICDs) are common psychiatric conditions in which affected individuals typically report significant impairment in social and occupational functioning, and may incur legal and financial difficulties as well. Kleptomania is characterized by repetitive uncontrollable theft of items that are of little use to the afflicted person. It is commonly associated with other anxiety and eating disorders, alcohol abuse, substance abuse and various mood disorders. Amygdala and nucleus accumbens are the major structures of brain involved in kleptomania. Serotonin and dopamine neuro transmitters and opioids are thought to be involved in the pathophysiology of kleptomania. Decreased serotonin and increased dopamine levels can lead to kleptomania. It can be effectively treated with behavioral or psychotherapy and pharmacological therapies. Selective serotonin inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic anti depressants (TCAs) and opioid antagonists are commonly used to treat kleptomania. Behavioral therapy involves Psychotherapy, Covert sensitization, aversion therapy, coping and support, self education, treatment of other mood disorders. This review summarizes the current information, associated disorders, and underlying pathophysiology regarding kleptomania, its treatment and prevention.

Keywords: kleptomania, impulsive compulsive disorder, amygdala, nucleus accumbens, dopamine, serotonin. 

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