Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

When you decide to seek treatment for symptoms of possible kleptomania, you may have both a physical and psychological evaluation. The physical exam can determine if there may be any medical causes triggering your symptoms.

Kleptomania is diagnosed based on your signs and symptoms. Because it's a type of impulse control disorder, to help pinpoint a diagnosis, your doctor may:

  • Ask questions about your impulses and how they make you feel
  • Review a list of situations to ask if these situations trigger your kleptomania episodes
  • Have you fill out psychological questionnaires or self-assessments

Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5, published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

DSM-5 criteria for kleptomania include these features:

  • You have a recurrent inability to resist urges to steal objects that aren't needed for personal use or monetary value
  • You feel increasing tension immediately before committing the theft
  • You have feelings of pleasure, relief or gratification during the act of stealing
  • The theft isn't committed as a way to exact revenge or to express anger and isn't done while hallucinating or delusional
  • The stealing isn't related to a conduct disorder, a manic episode of bipolar disorder or antisocial personality disorder
Nov. 11, 2014

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