7 behaviours that indicate kleptomania disorder

Do you remember the instance of reading this term’ kleptomania,’ while we were at school? Apart from knowing something new, the meaning of this word got us more inquisitive. But soon enough, we forgot all about it. Even now, when we hear about a kleptomaniac, many questions creep into our minds. Let us at last answer all those forgotten questions.

Demystifying a kleptomaniac

Kleptomania disorder is a type of impulse control disorder where the individual cannot control his desire but steal. Not like kleptomaniacs intentionally steal due to financial deprivations. They do so out of the basic concept of satisfying their urge. The compulsive stealing and the feeling of relief thereafter are the trademarks of a kleptomaniac.

Did you know-

Along with thieves and robbers, kleptomaniacs also give a hand in depleting the economical status of the country, summing up to approximately Rs. 3,500 crore loss annually!

Cause of the disorder? 

Not really known! Unfortunately, people with kleptomania have been understudied and mostly misjudged. 

People assume kleptomania is used as a legal defense. But, this is only an overhyped theory. Many people may consider many things, but that cannot be all the truth. From thinking they are thieves to not feeling guilt. Kleptomaniacs are actually a part of a puzzle that we have only commented on but never known completely.

Behaviours that indicate kleptomania disorder –

  • Irresistible urge to steal-

Although being aware of the disorder, kleptomaniacs are not positioned high enough in their minds to control this urge. Call it a run-down heritage issue or psychological problem. The truth of a kleptomaniac person is that even if he tries with all his will, the urge of his impulses is much stronger. These people steal and scar the image of both themselves and their families. The irony, however, is, they conceal their misconducts out of the fear of getting defamed and not to fool jurisdiction. 

  • Tension buildup before stealing-

The intention to steal is an impromptu act. No prior arrangement of how to go on with it. No fear of getting caught. Just an impulse to act! Kleptomania is a disorder of the mind. Low levels of serotonin can be a causative reason behind this rash behaviour. Serotonin is the emotion and action regulation centre, so scientists have somehow connected the two ends. Whatever be the reason, to stop a kleptomaniac is almost an impossible task. Only therapy may come down as a relief measure. 

  • Gratification after stealing-

A massive gush of relief flows when the person soothes down his impulse. In this context, dopamine plays a part. The neurotransmitter is responsible for the onset of pleasure that keeps the person clinging on to more such effects. Researchers draw a connection that few people turn out to be kleptomaniacs to symbolically compensate for the loss of something or to overcome negligence. Stealing becomes a stress-buster for such people. Their minds are rewired as such that specific environments and feelings are the outlets of their anxiousness. When similar cues are exposed to them, they respond in a similar manner to yet again feel the dopamine-dependent happiness. 

  • Self loath after an impulsive attitude-

The kleptomaniac may greedily hoard things. He may also feel immense satisfaction after pulling out the act. But then comes the remorse. Call it some irony! Kleptomaniacs are filled with self-recrimination after the episode of stealing. The incidence is more common during the adolescent period and in cases of women. However, no concrete evidence of why it happens has been yet known about this age and gender-biased mental illness.

  • Stealing objects of no monetary value-

A person suffering from kleptomania is considered a thief. Unaware of the fact to many people that kleptomania is a mental disease. Kleptomaniacs hover around in supermarkets, stores, and even at their friend’s, relatives’ places to sneak away items that actually carry no value. It is to be understood that kleptomaniacs steal out of the sheer fantasy/urge of their mind and not to fill up their pockets with gold! A typical thief differs from a mentally inflicted kleptomaniac. Both in anyways cannot be equated as in kleptomania, people do not steal items purposefully, but they do so profusely…only to submerge their yearning!

  • Stashing away the objects that are stolen-

As seen, kleptomaniacs steal objects that do not rate high in value. In fact, they do not even opt to steal away something that they require or have an interest in. What after that? 

After the episode of stealing and repentance, a kleptomaniac person discards away the item, donates it, or at times even places it back from where they have stolen it. More often, kleptomaniacs never even look back at the objects that they have stolen. So is it still right of us to tag them as a thief or is it better to provide them with treatment?

  • The cycle of repetition-

Kleptomaniacs are continuously stuck in the doldrums. From the onset of their need to content the urge, to a stealing spree, to ultimately living in guilt for their actions. This vicious cycle keeps on repeating anytime that they get triggered to similar situations or emotions and thus, again starts their battle with their ‘gut.’ 

Associated symptoms-

Stats say that around 73% of kleptomaniacs are diagnosed with some other mental disorders. They may be:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorder
  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Prevention and treatment-

Kleptomaniacs are treated either by medications or psychotherapy. 

Sadly, in terms of prevention, since there is no apparent cause to the disorder, preventing it at an initial state is not possible. However, early intervention to such acts and offering treatment to it can make matters halt and also stop in the long run. It is necessary to help people suffering from kleptomania to avoid distress and legal consequences.

If this disorder grasps you or any of your loved ones, you may reach out to us at Hopecare to provide the best treatment available.

Call us now at 91-931112377 to live a life where you do not need to hide anymore.

Who is at risk of impulse control disorder?

You may often have heard the saying, ‘ Think before you act out .’ The plain distinguishing factor that makes us categorized as humans comes from the fact that we have the ability to think and do things, differentiate right from wrong, and also to right our wrongs. Although impulses are a natural consciousness of our body, but, having control over our urges is a mandate to live in a society today. 

What is impulse control disorder?

To define impulse control behavior in simplest terms is when you nudge your impulses to the extent that you cannot control your urges until completing a task. This is not any random chore that we are talking about. It refers to the impulsive acts that would endanger oneself and the people around you. Of course, it is okay to be an indulgent fast food eater or a whole night video gamer. But indulging in activities like pathological gambling or kleptomania are harmful to drastic turns.

 Impulse control disorder symptoms-

  • High impatience level
  • Obsessive thoughts 
  • Repeated actions despite its negative consequences
  • Anxiety and obsession if urges are not satisfied
  • Gratification only after fulfilling an impulse.

Causes of impulse control disorder –

  • Facing domestic abuse during the childhood years.
  • If mental illness runs down the family.
  • Having disfigured structural issues in the brain leading to fluctuating and out-of-control nature.

People who are at risk of impulse control disorder-

  • Young children and adolescents –

You have often seen children nagging for an object of their interest. But did you ever wonder that the child is behaving too young for his age? 

Sometimes the callous attitude may be drawn due to plain immaturity because the child has not mentally grown completely. The behavioural disorders we see may be a result of impulse control issues otherwise. The lack of self-control can be a very harmful trait to live with. Children often learn such tantrums by looking at others, and with time, it becomes a part of their personality. But, putting mental breaks to the outrageous actions of the child is the duty of the parents. Different attentive care and methods should be adopted to suppress this attitude. Whatever the child is doing now may exceed at a later date. So much so that no behavioural therapy would also come into effect. So being an observant parent and helping your child grow with sound principles is a responsibility that you should not turn your back on. 

  • Drug abusers-

Who does not know the adverse effects of drug intake? Yet, many people indulge in it profusely, not being able to control themselves. This tendency surfaces from not only weak willpower but also an uncontrollable urge to fulfill one’s impulses. Addicts are most of the time reported to have impulse control disorder. It is critical in such instances to call for outside help. Many drug abusers become closeted, leading to higher risk factors. Therapy, meditation, counseling are a few of the therapeutic ways in which you will learn to have control over your behaviour, impulses, and addictions.

  • People who have experienced domestic abuse and violence-

At times you may act out in the spur of the moment due to a provocation. But, if such patterns follow at a consistent rate, then it becomes necessary to travel back to its source. It has often been concluded that individuals with impulse control disorders have a track record of a disturbed childhood. 

Early growing years are very receptive to every child. They pick up behaviours, instances very quickly. Although children are believed to be resilient yet, few derogatory remarks, incidents, violent outbursts, or maybe even getting projected to domestic abuses, get instilled in the child’s memories. Over time, the child learns to suppress his problem instead of blurting out his emotions. This lands him in a place where he would continuously require having control over his life. Following his ‘gut,’ so he would say, gives him satisfaction. But the inability of judgment impends on such children till their adulthood, making them victims of impulse control disorder.

  • Mental illness running down the family-

The individual suffering from the disorder may learn this early in his childhood by seeing his family members following the same aggressive patterns. But, sometimes, the impulse control problem is a lineage factor running down the family. So, is a person yet to suffer the ill effects of the disorder just because it is present in his genes?

Sadly, a person is unluckily chosen at times to have such a mental state where the pounding sensations of the impulses are to be fulfilled. But, having a loved companion, family member, and friends who understand the person’s hardships can come down for his help, making things easier for him. As a well-wisher, provide him with proper therapy that would give him a better and new life. 

  • Substance use disorders-

 Substance use addiction and  impulsivity have been interchangeably used as no concrete evidence has been shown to disclose that which gave rise to which problem.

Nevertheless, substance abusers have also been reported to have a high risk of impulse control.

The distinction between addictions, disorders, and compelling thoughts is not so easy. But, all the behaviours that come down to being self-damaging are to be avoided. Although, it is not up to you to choose how your brain responds to certain situations. But, reflecting upon your thoughts can be a start to a normal life. It is mandatory to talk out the emotional damages that you have been clinging onto and release them eventually. Therapy and meditation are the ‘pain relievers’ for your destructive nature. Having support by your side and professional help can give you a doorway of light. 

To have a positive ecosystem around you can be the first step towards having control over your impulses. We here at Hopecare help in providing you with an environment that will keep your mind stable and free from any nudges. Call us at 91-9311112377 to get professional help and subside away all your worries.