Philosophy and Psychology
Submitted By khowland
Although kleptomania, the irresistible impulse to steal objects not needed for personal use or for their monetary value, is currently classified in psychiatric nomenclature as an impulse control disorder, research suggests it is, rather, a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The principle effects of the theft are repetitive, unwanted intrusions of thoughts, and an inability to avoid the compulsion to perform the theft, and the relief of tension following the act (Dannon, 2002). Comparison of both disorders, their comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders, and the treatment used to reduce and eliminate symptoms may have a baring on the “correct” classification.
Kleptomania, listed in the DSM-IV as an impulse control disorder not elsewhere classified, is a psychiatric condition still poorly understood and subject of only a few systematic studies (Presta, Marazziti, Dell‘Osso, Pfanner, Pallanti, & Cassano, 2002). Kleptomania is characterized by the persistent impossibility to resist the drive to steal objects. Kleptomania should be distinguished from shoplifting, in which the action is usually well-planned and motivated by need or monetary gain. Often a kleptomaniac steals things he or she could have easily bought or things that are not expensive. The objects stolen are not stolen for their immediate utility or monetary value; on the contrary, the person will most likely discard them, give them away, or collect them. This behavior is usually associated with a sense of satisfaction during and immediately after its accomplished. Stealing is not done to express anger or vengeance nor is it a response to delirium or hallucination (Cardoso, 1997). Most patients with this disorder seem to be women; their mean age is about 36 and their mean duration of illness is roughly 16 years.
Some individuals report the onset of kleptomania as early as age five,…...