Julie Miller's Mental Health Blog

Archive for the ‘“K” is for Kleptomania’ Category

Wow, so this thing with the DSM diagnoses can be quite boring.  I didn’t start this blog with the intention of becoming another text book and boring not only you, the reader, but also myself.  I find myself not wanting to post another piece about a psychiatric diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.

I want to go back to all my previous posts and delete them…lol!  What’s fun about blogging is that you can really put yourself, your personality, into it.  I love mental health issues, teasing apart what is happening for a client and tracing it to its roots, then helping the client correct the problem.

That’s what’s interesting.  This blog is not interesting.

Okay, so, here’s a little way of looking at this.

Have you ever known someone who was a compulsive thief?  Have you been a compulsive thief?  I have worked with clients who were kleptomaniacs, and pretty much we have all heard of W*nona R*der, right?  (Can she sue me for calling her a kleptomaniac?)

It’s hard to understand why W*nona would steal a ton of clothes she could afford, right?  Okay, well too I think there were prescription pills involved, but was there a conviction about that?  Don’t remember.  And frankly, I don’t want to do the research.  The old way of blogging would be to do the research and make sure I have my facts right and so on and so on.  But again, that’s boring.

W*nona’s a child actor who grew up into a kleptomaniac opiate addict adult actor.  Has anyone ever in the history of acting been a child actor who grew up into a really healthy, functional adult?  Send your thoughts.  I can’t think of one right off hand.

Who are some other high profile kleptomaniacs?  Now that might take some research, and that might be fun…


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.