Difference Between Kleptomania and Stealing

Kleptomania is an impulsive disorder characterized by problems with emotional or behavioral self-control.
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Difference Between Kleptomania and Stealing

In some news media around the world we often hear someone caught stealing in a supermarket or mini market. After being caught, the market manager conducts an interrogation before taking further action and will hand it over to the police or the perpetrator is willing to make compensation as agreed.

In another case, there was once someone who was secretly caught on a CCTV surveillance camera stealing some chocolate bars or candy.

There is also another case in a toy store caught someone secretly stealing a small toy for $1.50 USD. After being caught, he is able to incur losses 100 times the value of the stolen goods as long as he is not brought to the police.

It turned out that the "thief" came to the shop in a luxury car and was known to have assets and companies worth millions of dollars. In fact, he came from a respected and highly respected family.

This isn't a prank or anything. This we believe is a psychological disease called kleptomania.

What is Kleptomania?

The Mayo Clinic defines kleptomania as a recurrent inability to resist the urge to steal or shoplift. However, these stolen items are generally not items that are needed by the sufferer, and are usually of little value.

Kleptomania is an impulsive disorder characterized by problems with emotional or behavioral self-control. Kleptomania, also known as kleptomania, is a rare mental health disorder that can cause emotional pain.

The following are some of the characteristics of kleptomania or the character of kleptomania sufferers:
  • The motivation for stealing is not for personal gain, revenge, or hating something. - The desire to steal is purely because there is a strong urge from within which is difficult to avoid to take other people's things.
  • The act of stealing is carried out spontaneously or without careful planning.
  • People with kleptomania steal independently, not assisted and involve others. - Kleptomaniacs steal in public places, such as shops or supermarkets. But, there are also those who steal at the place of friends or acquaintances. - People with kleptomania usually take things that can be stored and never used. The item is often given to someone else or secretly returned to where it was stolen. - The urge to steal can come and go over time.

It is known, there is no cure for kleptomania, but treatment can be done with speech therapy or psychotherapy.

Causes of Kleptomania

Until now, it is not certain what causes someone to become a klepto. Several theories suggest that changes occurring in the brain are at the root of the action of kleptomania. However, several theories regarding kleptocy can be related to:
  • Problems with the hormone Serotonin which regulates mood.
  • Addictive disorder when kleptomania feels pleasure after stealing.
  • Imbalances the brain's opioid system making it harder to resist urges. Even so, actually kleptomania when viewed from a legal point of view, is still said to be stealing and is included in a harmful crime.

The difference between Kleptomania and Stealing

Kaplan and Sadock in their book entitled Psychiatric Synopsis explain the main differences between kleptomania and other forms of theft.

In kleptomania, stealing must be accompanied by a failure to control impulses and must be an act in itself and the stolen object has no financial purpose.

Whereas in ordinary theft, the actions taken are usually planned, and the stolen object has a financial value.

Because of this, it is necessary to distinguish between kleptomania and usual stealing behavior. Quoting from Psychologenesis, the perpetrators who commit theft if proven to have kleptomania, according to a legal psychological examination, they can be canceled from criminal acts.

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