Kleptomania (klep-toe-MAY-nee-uh) is the recurrent failure to resist urges to steal items that you generally don't really need and that usually have little value. Kleptomania is a serious mental health disorder that can cause much emotional pain to you and your loved ones if not treated.
Kleptomania is a type of impulse control disorder — a disorder that's characterized by problems with emotional or behavioral self-control. If you have an impulse control disorder, you have difficulty resisting the temptation or drive to perform an act that's excessive or harmful to you or someone else.
Many people with kleptomania live lives of secret shame because they're afraid to seek mental health treatment. Although there's no cure for kleptomania, treatment with medication or psychotherapy may be able to help end the cycle of compulsive stealing.
Nov. 11, 2014
- Kleptomania. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Sept. 3, 2014.
- Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. http://www.psychiatry.org/dsm5. Accessed Sept. 3, 2014.
- Hales RE, et al. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2014. http://psychiatryonline.org/book.aspx?bookid=716. Accessed Sept. 3, 2014.
- Schreiber L, et al. Impulse control disorders: Updated review of clinical characteristics and pharmacological management. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2011;2:1.
- Talih FR. Kleptomania and potential exacerbating factors: A review and case report. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience. 2011;8:35.
- Hodgins DC, et al. Cognitive-behavioral treatment for impulse control disorders. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria. 2008;Suppl 1:S31.
- Grant JE, et al. Kleptomania: Clinical characteristics and relationship to substance use disorders. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. 2010;36:291.
- Kung S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 22, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.