Shoplifting addiction is a kind of mental illness where a person feels compelled to steal. Most of the time a person suffering from kleptomania does this because it gives him or her a thrill knowing that they got away with it and got something for free. Some feel that they need this kind of excitement in order to get them through the day. Others shoplift because they feel that they are entitled to it because their life has been hard, they see no let up from stress, or they could be going through a serious illness or divorce and they want and need a diversion.
Symptoms of Shoplifting Addiction
- Stealing items that are not needed
- Not telling anyone about the new items
- Feeling happy and then depressed after bringing the items home
Shoplifting addiction can develop quickly because when they feel the success of getting away with stealing, it brings on a “high” somewhat like taking drugs. Some who shoplift know that it’s wrong and that eventually they will get caught and in most cases, they want to be caught and then given some kind of help and therapy.
A Way to Cope
Shoplifting addiction, for many, is simply a way to cope with the pressures and stresses of life. Instead of overeating or taking drugs, a person can choose to shoplift, bring their possessions home, and say to themselves, “I got something for nothing, didn’t get caught, it’s wrong and I’ll try not to do it again.” Of course, the cycle repeats itself and sooner or later, unless they get caught, it will continue.
Most mental health professionals look at shoplifting addiction as a psychiatric disorder, but many still don’t understand why a person shoplifts. Also, some think that shoplifting is obsessive/compulsive disorder. Those who shoplift are also more likely to suffer from depression or bipolar disease. Cognitive behavioral therapy is now being used to help those who have an urge to steal.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seems to help the most when treating this kind of behavioral addiction. However, until a person who is addicted to shoplifting admits that he or she needs help, the shoplifting will continue until he or she is caught in the act, or they simply give up and stop shoplifting. Sometimes when their emotional or physical life improves, the desire to shoplift goes away.