Kleptomania is essentially the sense of tension and relief affiliated with the act of theft. This sense of tension is experienced to a great degree prior to the act, and feelings of gratification and relief immediately follow the act of theft. The urges are usually acted out through shoplifting. This leads to notable impairments and serious consequences with law enforcement. This entry reviews the diagnostic criteria, clinical features, and etiology of kleptomania and discusses treatment strategies.

Diagnostic Criteria

Over the years, there has been tremendous debate about kleptomania. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, First Edition (DSM-I), published in 1952, it was listed as a “supplementary term,” and removed completely from the DSM-II. It was then reinstated in the DSM-III under Impulse-Control Disorder Not ...

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