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

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