Kleptomania is an uncontrollable urge to steal, even if the things you are pilfering are worthless. But unlike a petty shoplifter driven to steal goods because they prefer not to pay for them, a kleptomaniac has no control over their urge and even when they know the act is wrong and they are in danger of being caught, they just can’t help themselves.
Kleptomania is a serious disorder, but the only way to find some relief from the symptoms is to seek professional help, so what is the treatment for kleptomania and is it curable?
Kleptomania: Is There a Treatment?
Kleptomania is a difficult mental health disorder to treat. Many sufferers are wracked with shame and guilt because of their thieving habit.
Consequently they do not seek help for their problems and the disorder goes untreated. But with the right treatment, the impulsive urge to steal can be brought under control and the destructive cycle can be broken.
What are the Treatment Options for Kleptomania?
Cognitive behavior therapy is considered to be the best treatment for kleptomania patients as it can help the patient identify their negative behavior patterns and find ways of beating the urge to steal as and when it arises.
Therapists can teach kleptomaniacs a number of different techniques to help them overcome the compulsive addiction to stealing.
These include relaxation techniques, aversion therapy, and covert sensitization.
Can Medication Help Treat the Symptoms of Kleptomania?
As such, a psychologist might prescribe more than one type of medication to take into account the different symptoms.
Which Types of Medication Might be Prescribed to Help Treat the Symptoms of Kleptomania?
Antidepressants are useful in the treatment of kleptomania. Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors such as prozac, paxil, and luvox can help to treat any underlying depressive disorders and help the patient cope with their kleptomania.
Addiction medications can help to reduce the urge to steal by blocking the pleasure sectors in the brain associated with impulsive behavior patterns. Once you stop deriving pleasure from the act of theft, the urge to carry out the behavior will be greatly diminished.
Mood stabilizers can reduce the mood swings that often trigger the compulsive urge to steal.
Anti-seizure medications have also been shown to have a benefit when given to patients suffering from kleptomania.
All patients are different and what works for one person might not work for another, so it may take a while to find the right combination of medications that improve the symptoms without causing too many unwanted side effects, although most side effects do normally disappear over time.
It is also important to remember that it can take several weeks for the medication to have any noticeable effect on the symptoms of kleptomania.
Is Kleptomania Curable?
With the right treatment, the symptoms of kleptomania can be controlled, but the disorder will never completely disappear and it is not unusual for patients to suffer from relapses during times of stress.
Because of this risk, it can be helpful for patients to enlist the long term assistance of support groups.