Kleptomania is considered uncommon. However because many people with kleptomania never seek treatment, or they're simply jailed after repeated thefts, many cases of kleptomania may never be diagnosed. It's thought that fewer than 5 percent of shoplifters have kleptomania. Kleptomania often begins during adolescence or in young adulthood, but in rare cases it begins after 50 years of age.

Kleptomania risk factors may include:

  • Family history. Having a first-degree blood relative, such as a parent or sibling, with kleptomania or obsessive-compulsive disorder may increase your risk of kleptomania.
  • Being female. Approximately two-thirds of people with known kleptomania are women.
  • Having another mental illness. People with kleptomania often have other mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse or personality disorders.
  • Head trauma or brain injuries. People who've experienced a head trauma may develop kleptomania.
Oct. 05, 2011