It is a rare mental illness, but that can have serious consequences, in which the person has the uncontrollable impulse to steal unnecessary things of little value, which affects their emotional health and their personal, family, and professional environment.
Kleptomania is a compulsive disorder characterized by experiencing difficulties to control emotions and behaviors.
Although it is an incurable disease, it can be controlled through psychotherapy and medications that help reduce the impulse or desire to compulsively steal.
The more timely the diagnosis and treatment, the less damage and complications. The origin of kleptomania remains a mystery, however, some research considers that some brain changes can trigger it, including:
- Low levels of serotonin, which is the chemical that helps regulate emotions and mood.
- Release of dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter of pleasant feelings.
- Imbalances in the opioid system that can trigger urges.
Some factors have been identified that, alone or combined, may contribute to the development of this disorder:
- Having used drugs or alcohol for a long time.
- Suffering from another mental illness such as bipolarity or eating, anxiety, or personality disorders.
In case of not receiving treatment, complications begin to appear seriously affecting the person’s life, such as:
- Dropping school and jobs.
- Alcoholism and drug addiction.
- Social and family isolation.
- Low self-esteem.
- Guilt, humiliation, shame.
- Physical health complications.
- Other compulsive disorders such as gambling and consumerism.
- Anxiety and depression episodes that progressively increase in frequency and intensity.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Legal problems due to theft.
- Eating or personality disorders.