A mental health condition known as kleptomania (klep-toe-MAY-nee-uh) is characterized by a persistent inability to control cravings to take things that you ordinarily don't need. Frequently, the stolen goods are of small value and are within your means to purchase. Although kleptomania is uncommon, it can be a serious disorder. If left untreated by a Florida licensed mental health counselor, it can lead to significant emotional suffering for you and your loved ones as well as legal issues.
Kleptomania is an example of an impulse control disorder, characterized by issues with either behavioral or emotional self-control. If you struggle to manage strong urges to do something excessive or dangerous to you or another person, you may have an impulse control disorder.
Because they are hesitant to seek virtual mental health counseling, many kleptomaniacs live lives of hidden shame. Despite the fact that there is no known medication treatment for kleptomania, skill-building therapy that focuses on managing urges may be able to break the vicious cycle of obsessive stealing.
Kleptomania symptoms may include:
- being unable to control strong cravings to take things you don't need
- feeling more tense, anxious, or aroused before the heist
- experiencing joy, delight, or fulfillment when stealing
- having excruciating guilt, regret, shame, or dread of being arrested following the theft
- a recurrence of the kleptomania cycle and a return of the impulses
People with kleptomania don't persistently steal for personal gain, on a dare, for revenge, or out of rebellion like the majority of shoplifters do. They steal simply because they can't resist the impulse, which is quite strong. Kleptomania attacks typically occur without warning, without preparation, and without assistance from a third party. Most kleptomaniacs steal from supermarkets and other public areas. At a party, for example, some people would steal from friends or acquaintances. Frequently, the kleptomaniac can afford to buy the stolen objects since they are worthless to him or her. Usually, the stolen goods are hidden away and never used. Additionally, items can be donated, given to family or friends, or even covertly brought back to the location where they were stolen. The urge to steal could come and go, or it might get stronger or weaker with time. A psychotherapist in Florida can provide the help you need.
When to see a doctor
Consult a doctor if you can't stop stealing or shoplifting. Many people who may have kleptomania don't want to get help because they're worried about getting caught or imprisoned. A mental health professional, however, typically doesn't alert the police about your thefts.
Some people seek medical attention out of fear of being caught and facing legal repercussions. They may also be forced by law to seek therapy if they have already been arrested.
What to do if you or a loved one has kleptomania
Gently express your worries to a close friend or member of your family if you believe they may be suffering from kleptomania. Remember that kleptomania is a mental health condition, not a weakness in the person's character, so don't judge or point the finger.
It might be beneficial to emphasize the following:
There are counseling and therapy services that could reduce the drive to steal and allow people to live without addiction and shame. Ask your therapist in Broward county for assistance if you need it while you get ready for this discussion. Your healthcare practitioner could suggest that you speak with a mental health specialist who can advise you on how to express your concerns to friends or family members without making them feel intimidated or defensive.