Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lexicon of Madness -- Kleptomania


Kleptomania: The recurrent failure to resist the urge to steal. The kleptomaniac steals items that she doesn't need or even want; she might throw them away or even surreptitiously return them after the theft. They usually have the money needed to purchase the stolen item. A woman might steal a pair of mens' gloves from a department store and then leave them on a bench outside the store. There is an intolerable increase in tension immediately prior to the act, and then a significant reduction in tension after the theft. Thefts are impulsive and because they are not carefully planned, may result in arrest. Kleptomaniacs often feel guilt, anxiety, or depression as a consequence of their acts. Stealing unneeded items is usually their only form of antisocial behavior. Kleptomania is sometimes comorbid with bulimia nervosa, another disorder marked by impaired impulse control. Some psychodynamic theorists have suggested that kleptomania could represent a covert act of aggression, or serve as a substitute for sexual behavior (which is a different form of tension relief).

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