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psychotherapeutic techniques for kleptomania

Running Head: KLEPTOMANIA Okezie 1



Okezie Emmanuel

Oral Roberts University

Dr. Nelson

April 21st, 2018.


Kleptomania refers to an impulse disorder which is a characteristic feature of having a recurrent failure to resist feeling. The victim suffering from this disorder usually finds it hard to stop the habit of stealing. This disorder is common in patients who are chemically dependent and in sometimes others tend to have a coexisting mood, anxiety, and theor eating disorder. Other contemporaneous mental disorders are depressions, panic attacks, social phobia, anorexia, and substance abuse among others (Grant J., 2006). Comment by Philip Nelson: Stealing?

Individuals suffering from this disorder always have a propensity to steal and are getting thrilledget a thrill from doing it. The persistent behavior of theft might be limited to particular items and settings; nevertheless, the individual with this disorder possibly will or may perhaps not explain these specific special partialities. The affected individuals always show signs of culpability following the stealing action. Kleptomania is always hard to detect and might progress without detected detection (Christianni, Conti, Hearst, Cordas, de Abreu, & Tavares, 2015).


The cause of the kleptomania is unidentified, even though it might be havinghave a genetic element and can be passed on to the first-degree relatives. However, the occurrence of this disorder is not restricted to a particular group and it any person is likely to be kleptomaniac regardless of the social status or the financial status. The symptoms of this disease are manifested in stages. The following are stages of the manifestation of the kleptomania disorder. Comment by Philip Nelson: ?

· There is an uncontrolled impulse of stealing anything with no value or benefit. Against the background, there is the existence of resistance to obsession. Comment by Philip Nelson: try to avoid using bullets in term paper/formal writing. If you do, use just the dots as that’s the more basic one.

· The feeling of the tension elevates and this might suggest that there is an anticipation of the adrenaline before stealing

· After the theft, there are some kinds of a relief feeling as well as satisfaction. There are gradual incriminating thoughts, feelings of guilt and shame for what has been done.

· There is a spontaneous occurrence of episodes without even planning them. Some of this situation can happen in the public gatherings. The patients have no signs of schizophrenia.

· Kleptomanus commits theft himself. The stolen items can be returned to the site or discarded due to the worthlessness. Comment by Philip Nelson: I think it’s kleptomaniacs

The stealing action is always associated with a stronger psycho-emotional burden on the body. There is also a sense of moral satisfaction as well as the buzz. In some occasions, the patient can theft everlastingly or observe some time interval. The extent of the time of stealing is dependent on the level of the development i.e. the neglect of the disorder. A pathological condition can also occur for the time being of the life situation (Grant, 2006).

There is always a never-ending occurrence of the episodes of this disorder. In most occasions, attacks have a propensity to occur in most unpredicted moments and in the nearly all suitable places. There is always a stronger to keep on stealing and it is impossible for the person suffering from kleptomania to resist. The stealing action is always associated with nervousness which in a while is swiftly replaced by the satisfaction and a sense of culpability. After this feeling of guilt, the person suffering from kleptomania will then try again to return the stolen object which he or she had stolen. There is also a sense of the tension as well as excitement which is related to impulse. The unplanned act stealing action is performed under the influence of impulsive actions. Theft is not carried out of antagonism or to take revenge on another person (Thompson & Winstead, 2014). Comment by Philip Nelson: ?

Physiology of Kleptomania

There is little known concerning the cause of kleptomania. However, some of the believed cause includes the structural changes in the brain. Studies are investigating on the potential connection between the impulse control disorders such as kleptomania and some chemicals found within the brain known as the neurotransmitters. In the human brain, neurotransmitters are responsible for helping the nerve cells of the brain in sending messages to one another (Sophia & Monica, 2013).

A neurotransmitter is also involved in the regulation of the emotions of the mood. A low level of the serotonin results in uncontrolled behavior and the discharge of the dopamine cause pleasant feelings. Due to this, dependence occurs and the desire to experience these feelings occurs. Head injuries which cause trauma or the organic damage to the brain can also lead to this disorder. A deadly predilection starts with epilepsy after the stroke with a progressive paralysis and senile dementia. Family history also increases the development of this disease especially to people whose parents have had bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety-phobic condition, alcohol or addiction to a drug, bulimia nervosa or the anorexia nervosa.

Kleptomania is also linked with the psychosexual issues like the sexual repression as well as the suppression. The brain opioid system is responsible for the regulation of the urges. Therefore, an imbalance in this system might make it challenging to resist the urge of stealing. Hormonal changes due to the lesions of the endocrine system are also believed to be the cause of this disorder. Postponed mental illness, for example, the eating disorder can also lead to the development of kleptomania disorder. There are also other risks factors which increase the chances of developing this disorder and they include hereditary predisposition for example if the parents had kleptomania disease. Females are also at risk and the statistical approximation is that about 60-70 percent patient is womenfor females.

Continuous stress, as well as the chronic nervous tension, also increases the chances of developing this disorder. In this regard, stealing is alleged as a reward for the suffered failures and suffering. On the same note, this is also observed in the schizophrenia due to the hallucinations or delusions. Growing in the antisocial families also leads to the exposure to this disease and in this case, at the unconscious level, a statement is generated which states that stealing is normal and it provides moral satisfaction (Grant J., 2006).

Children are likely to be the most exposed if certain principles are not observed. Due to the lack of understanding of the fact that stealing is not allowed, children will be involved in such behaviors. According to the psychoanalytic theories, the compulsive stealing is related childhood trauma and the neglectful or the abusive parents and therefore theft represents the repossessing the loss of the childhood. Inadequate attention from the parent frequently leads to the fact that kid appropriates the parental money or things. This is a specific reunion with the parents. Lack of money for some smaller uses can also increase the development of this disorder in children (Sophia & Monica, 2013).


Usually, individuals suffering from the antisocial behavior with uncontrolled urges to steal hardly ever seek medical assistance. The treatment of the kleptomania is usually targeted bring back the normal condition of the patient and doing away with the obsessive thoughts. However, before the start of the treatment, it is always important to assess the physical and the psychological condition of the patient. The process of physical examination through having laboratory tests such as MRI and CT scan are necessary for the detection of the changes or the damages to the brain and the metabolic disorders. The examination of the mental condition usually composed of special tests and the questionnaire and the outcomes are considered while formulating the final diagnosis (Black, 2013).

Treatment of this disorder involves the combination of the pharmacology and the psychotherapy. The psychotherapy treatment is done to help in the identification of the real causes of the pathological dependence. The psychological counseling or therapy can be in a group or one on one setting with an aim of addressing the underlying psychological problems that are likely to be the contributor to kleptomania. Some of the therapies that can be used in this case include behavioral modification therapy; disgust therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and the psychodynamic therapy.

The behavioral psychotherapy assists in separating the unhealthy beliefs and behaviors while replacing them with the positive and healthy behaviors. Disgust therapy is used by the psychologists to model a situation that led the patient to steal. At this point, the patient remains quite while holding his breath to uneasiness and lack of oxygen. This approach has moderate pain, however through regular training; there is unpleasant, uncomfortable association if the individual wants to steal something. Group psychotherapy is also important because it helps the patient in knowing individuals having a similar problem. Anonymity as well as having a complete within the group is important because it assists in the determination of the real causes of the disorder thus paving the way for finding the effective mechanisms of correcting it (Christianni, Conti, Hearst, Cordas, de Abreu, & Tavares, 2015).

Patients are always required for the psychotherapy treatment and the symptoms have to be written down even those which arise during the time of the theft. This is important in establishing what affects the harmful urge of theft. It is also important to have anamnesis of the life as well as the recognition of the shocking and stressful conditions. It is the responsibilities of the physician to select the drugs or develop some pharmacological combinations that would help in stopping the disastrous urge. The doctor selects the type of drug to be given and decides on the duration of the therapy individually to every patient. Some medications which work best in treating the kleptomania disorder include a number of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which leads to the elevation in the serotonin level within the brain. Some of these drugs include Fluoxetine (Prozac), Fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and the sertraline (Christianni, Conti, Hearst, Cordas, de Abreu, & Tavares, 2015).

The above drugs, for example, the Prozac are widely used as antidepressants and it is selective inhibitors of serotonin reuptake which have therapeutic properties. There are also other drugs which are used for the stabilization of the moods for example Lithium is used to align the moods as well as help in controlling the urge for theft. Normotimiki is used for the reduction of the excitement level within the brain and minimize the desire to commit crimes. Some of the Normotimiki drugs include topiramate, carbamazepine, and the Tegretol which are sometimes used for the treatment of epilepsy. Additionally, physiotherapy is useful in the treatment of the kleptomania attacks and some good examples of these drugs include ashwagandha grass which stabilizes the role of the adrenaline; valerian root, and California poppy among many other drugs (Grant, Odlaug, Schreiber, Chamberlain, & Kim, 2013). Comment by Philip Nelson: what is this?

References Black, D. (2013). Behavioral addictions as a way to classify behaviors. Christianni, A. R., Conti, M. A., Hearst, N., Cordas, T. A., de Abreu, C. N., & Tavares, H. (2015). Treating kleptomania: A cross-cultural adaptation of kleptomania symptom assessment scale and assessment of an outpatient program. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 56, 289-294. Grant, J. E., Odlaug, B. L., Schreiber, L. R., Chamberlain, S. R., & Kim, S. W. (2013). Memantine reduces stealing behavior and impulsivity in kleptomania: a pilot study. International Clinical Psychopharmacology, 28 (2), 106-111. Grant, J. (2006). Understanding and treating kleptomania: new models and new testaments. Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 43 (2), 81. Sophia, E. C., & Monica, L. Z. (2013). Addictive Disorder. Women and Health, 1305-1316. Thompson, J. W., & Winstead, D. K. (2014). Chapter 28. Impulse-control disorders. In: Ebert MH, Loosen PT, Nurcombe B, Leckman JF.eds. Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Psychiatry. New York, NY.: McGraw-Hill.

Category Scoring Criteria Total Points Score

(25 points)

Symptoms are accurate (based on DSM-5) 5 5
Research adequately supports and discusses symptoms thoroughly 20 20

(50 points)

Research supports physiological mechanisms of disorder 25 17
Level of coverage (detail) of material is appropriate to the paper 25 15

(30 points)

Treatment is well-supported by research 20 15
Treatments are comprehensive (missing few major components) 10 7
APA Format

(10 points)

Paper is in appropriate APA format 10 10
Grammar/Syntax/Sentence Clarity Paper is free of major grammar/syntax/spelling errors. (1/2 point for every error). Paper flows well (i.e., uses transitional phrases to connect similar ideas or provide contrast between two different ideas). 10 0
Total Points 125
Video Presentation

(15 points)

Presentation is clear and well-rehearsed. Student does not read directly from notes, but uses creative ways to explain the main points of the presentation (e.g., student uses visual aids, PowerPoint, Whiteboard, etc.). Video is between 5-8 min. long (- 1 point for every 30 seconds +/-) 15
Critique & Rating

(10 points)

Student critiques and rates 10 other videos 10
Total Score 150

· A lot of your phrasing is difficult to understand or read. I’d recommend for future assignments where you have to do more formal writing vs. more laboratory reports, seek out the writing center to help with the general flow of the paper. Your content is good, but it is difficult to read through as some phrases are worded in a way that is hard to comprehend. Many of your sentences did not make sense and it too a while to get through your paper because of this.

· -12 points (only 6 peer-reviewed articles)

· Your physiology section was very short and needs to be about ½ of your entire paper.

· Need to talk more about the psychotherapeutic techniques for kleptomania

· Overall, good information, just needed to be expanded more

· -12.5 (10% instead of 20% for plagiarism)