There is recent surge in the research pertaining to kleptomania that has led to some understanding of the clinical presentation, pathophysiology and management of the condition. the details of which will be elaborated in this essay.
Kleptomaniacs do not usually consult physicians on their own. They are either brought to the medical attention either by their parents and well-wishers, employers, teachers or school counselors. Despite distress because of stealing, majority of kleptomanias do not report about their shoplifting habit to their physicians (Grant and Kim, 2002). One of the reasons could be fear of exposure of theft and subsequent legal consequences. Reluctance to expose their habit, shame on activities of oneself and lack of clinicians familiarity with the condition prevent kleptomania from being recognized and diagnosed (Grant and Kim, 2002). According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual- IV-TR (Grant and Odlaug, 2008), diagnosis of kleptomania is established when a person exhibits “1) recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal objects that are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value, 2) increasing sense of tension immediately before committing the theft, 3) pleasure, gratification, or relief at the time of committing the theft, 4) the stealing is not committed to express anger or vengeance and is not in response to a delusion or a hallucination and 5) the stealing is not better accounted for by conduct disorder, a manic episode, or antisocial personality disorder" (Grant and Odlaug, 2008). Kleptomaniacs frequently steal items that are unnecessary for them. Infact, many stolen items are either given away to others or stolen or even returned. Kleptomaniacs are frequently referred to as bad people without realizing that it is the illness that is causing the urge for them to steal. It is however, difficult to draw a distinction between maladaptive behavior