Somehow, you have found yourself charged with shoplifting from a business in Mississippi. You may agree with the use of the word, “somehow,” because it felt like you were not in control of your body when the crime occurred.

Could undiagnosed kleptomania be the reason for the incident? Find out more about the impulse control disorder to learn whether you need professional help rather than criminal punishment.

Characteristics and features of kleptomania 

Rather than the need to steal, you may instead experience an urge to steal, one that comes and goes over time. You may also find it all but impossible to resist the urge, one that does not stem from an act of rebellion or any type of personal gain. Both are examples of characteristics of kleptomania, so is being able to afford the items you swipe. You may also hide, donate or gift the items you take rather than using them.

One symptom of the disorder is a buildup of anxiety and tension right before the act of stealing. Feeling shame or guilt for the act immediately afterward is another indication.

Causes of kleptomania 

So, what is the root cause of kleptomania? It could be that you have issues with a brain chemical called serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter. Insufficient serotonin may lead to poor impulse control. Another theory is that uncontrollable stealing leads to the release of another brain chemical called dopamine, a neurotransmitter that triggers feelings of pleasure. The brain also has its own opioid system that keeps your urges in check. If your brain’s system is not properly balanced, you can have great difficulty holding back on your compulsion to steal. Family history and the existence of other mental health illnesses can also contribute to the odds of a person developing kleptomania.

Understandably, you may feel a swirl of emotions not only for your theft, but also for your arrest. After dealing with the legal charges, consider seeing a therapist to understand the root cause of your unfortunate situation.

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