Kleptomania

Kleptomania is a type of an impulse-control disorder which is characterised by the recurrent inability to resist the urge to steal objects that are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value.

Behaviour Help is a registered NDIS provider.

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Definition of Kleptomania

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-V) (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), is a handbook that is used by professionals around the world to diagnose mental disorders.

The DSM–V describes kleptomania as a type of an impulse-control disorder which is characterised by the recurrent inability to resist the urge to steal objects that are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value. The objects may instead be hoarded, secretly returned or discarded.

 

Types of Kleptomania

In the DSM-V (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), the age of onset often begins in adolescence, but can develop in childhood or adulthood. Three typical courses of kleptomania are identified:

  1. Sporadic with brief episodes and long periods of remission.
  2. Episodic with protracted periods of stealing and periods of remission.
  3. Chronic with some degree of fluctuation.

The condition may last for years, despite multiple convictions.

 

Causes of Kleptomania

  • Family factors –. a family history of Kleptomania and substance use disorders including alcohol use.
  • Physiological factors – low levels of chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters), which affect how the brain controls impulses.  
  • Other mental disorders – often co-occurs with other disorders such as depressive or bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, eating disorder (particularly bulimia nervosa), personality disorder, substance use disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and other impulse-control and conduct disorders.

 

Symptoms of Kleptomania

  • Recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal objects that are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value.
  • Increasing sense of tension, anxiety or arousal immediately before committing the theft.
  • Pleasure, gratification, or relief at the time of committing the theft.
  • Feeling depressed, guilty, remorseful, shame or fear of arrest after the theft.
  • Return of the urges and a repetition of the kleptomania cycle.

 

References

American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.).

 

Behaviour Help

If you are supporting an individual with this diagnosis, please refer to our services and resources. They aim to help children, adolescents and adults achieve better communication, social, emotional, behavioural and learning outcomes. So whether you are wanting guidance on parenting, teaching, supporting or providing therapy, Behaviour Help is at hand.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible causes, symptoms and types but some general information that can be further explored. Based on what you have read if you have any concerns about an individual, please raise them with the individual/s. The caregiver can then raise these concerns with their local doctor who can provide a referral to the relevant professional (e.g. paediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist, allied health professional and learning specialists) for diagnosis and treatment if appropriate.

Which resources are right for you?

Apps

Based on the Taking CHARGE of Rainbow of Emotions Workbook this app helps children of all ages develop emotional regulation skills. The app guides the child to firstly, identify and express their emotion in appropriate ways. Then the child is guided to use emotional management tool/s from the CHARGE tool kit to manage their emotions in a healthy way.

The acronym CHARGE stands for the different categories of emotional management tools – Chat tools, Helpful thinking tools, Amusement tools, Relaxation tools, Good routine tools and Exercise tools.

Behaviour Help App - Using the evidence-based approach of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), the Behaviour Help web-based app allows people supporting individuals with emotional and behavioural difficulties to complete a Functional Behaviour Analysis and put together a comprehensive Behaviour Support Plan (BSP). The BSP can then be used by everyone interacting with the individual to manage and prevent challenging behaviours and ultimately improve their lives, and the lives of those who support them.

Books

If you want to learn more about emotional and behavioural difficulties then we have a great range of books you can read on your Kindle or order from Amazon.

Coaching

Personalised and practical one to one help tailored specifically to your family.

Online Courses

Access these online courses anytime online to learn about a range of diagnoses, practical skills and strategies to help develop the individual’s emotional regulation skills. Also learn to utilise the positive behaviour support framework to address anxiety, aggression, ADHD, ASD and ODD.

SEL Educational Videos

Minimise or eliminate the occurrence of challenging behaviours by teaching children of all ages appropriate ways of communicating, interacting, managing their emotions and behaviours.

The SEL curriculum uses video modelling to provide direct, explicit and systematic teaching of the various skills by discussing the importance of the skill, modelling the skill so the child learns what the skill looks like? sounds like? feels like? and learn the skill in staged situations that simulate real life scenarios.

Therapy

Personalised and practical behaviour therapy tailored specifically to your family.

Webinars

Webinars discuss a range of practical strategies to guide your child learn positive ways of behaving and managing their emotions.

Workshops

Attend our practical and interactive workshops to learn about a range of diagnoses, practical skills and strategies to help develop the individual’s emotions, behaviours, social and communication skills in your learning environment.

Ask Dolly

Since you’re here, you probably have questions and concerns. I am Dolly Bhargava, am here to help. I am a NDIS registered behaviour support practitioner and speech pathologist.

I have worked in a number of settings for over 21 years so, how can I help?

Please tell me what is worrying you right now and I will do my best to recommend resources and/or services that will be most useful to you in your situation.

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