Julie Miller's Mental Health Blog

“K” is for Kleptomania

Posted on: April 26, 2010

The DSM-IV describes kleptomania is an impulse control disorder (see previous posts regarding “I” is for Impulse Control).  It encompasses inability to resist urges to steal, and the objects are not stolen for monetary gain or need.  Additionally, the individual experiences an increase in tension before committing the theft, and a sense of relief, lessening of tension, or pleasure after stealing.

Like many of the issues discussed in this blog, kleptomania is a means by which an individual can regulate the central nervous system.  In that sense, kleptomania is similar to other impulse control disorders and addictions (chemical and behavioral).

Regulation of the central nervous system (CNS) is essential for healthy human functioning.  If I am excessively over activated (e.g., anxiety), my CNS will work to return me to homeostasis.

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