What is Kleptomaniac?

Meaning of Kleptomaniac

Kleptomaniac is the individual who suffers from kleptomania , that is, he is unable to resist the urge to steal things . Kleptomania is a psychological disorder that causes a person to feel an uncontrollable urge to steal objects that he does not usually need and that often have little value.

According to medicine, kleptomania is a rare but serious mental disorder that can cause various emotional problems for the person.

The meaning of kleptomaniac is related to the meaning of kleptomania , which comes from the Greek kleptes (“ thief ”) and mania (“madness”), that is, it refers to the idea of ​​stealing “ madly ”, compulsively.

Kleptomania is a type of impulse control disorder (ICD), which are disorders characterized by a person’s inability to react to and/or resist an impulse. That is, kleptomania is a type of disorder in which the person suffers from difficulties in emotional and behavioral self-control.


The kleptomaniac person does not know the limits of his actions because he cannot resist them. Still, many people admit they have a disorder but refuse to seek help and treatment because they feel ashamed.

Therefore, it is important to know how to identify the kleptomaniac person . Some common symptoms of the disorder are:


  • Inability to resist strong desires to steal things that are not necessary;
  • Feeling of tension, anxiety, and/or excitement before the robbery;
  • Feeling of pleasure, relief, and/or satisfaction from stealing;
  • Feeling of guilt, remorse, shame, and/or fear of being arrested after the robbery;
  • Return of impulses, causing the person to repeat the cycle again.


Characteristics of a Kleptomaniac

In addition to the symptoms , other characteristics of a  kleptomaniac are:


  • Unlike thieves, the kleptomaniac does not steal out of necessity or self-interest, but because the desire to steal is uncontrollable and exceeds his ability to resist;
  • In general, the robberies committed by the kleptomaniac are not premeditated, that is, there is no planning or third party participation;
  • Most of the time, the stolen items are not of great value and can even be bought by the kleptomaniac;
  • Stolen things can be hidden away and never used again or can be donated to family or close friends. In other cases, the items are returned;
  • The need to steal is not constant, but varies over time.


The causes of kleptomania are unknown and medicine points to possible brain changes. The most likely risk factors are family history and other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder , anxiety, and depression, for example.

Kleptomania Treatment

The kleptomaniac person does not steal for criminal reasons , but because of an inability to resist the urge to commit theft. Therefore, it is essential that family and friends support the person by putting aside judgment and observing symptoms.

Although there is no cure, medicine promotes treatments that inhibit the cycle of kleptomania . Psychotherapy, accompanied by a qualified psychologist, is a fundamental step in treatment. In some cases, treatment of the disorder also involves the use of medications such as anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants.

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