Is shoplifting addiction normal? To answer this, we first have to know what exactly shoplifting is and why the person is shoplifting. Shoplifting is not just stealing, but it is stealing from businesses. Some destitute individuals are known to shoplift in grocery stores; they may do this to provide food for their children or diapers for a baby. Being addicted to shoplifting is when people shoplift for no apparent reason other than the adrenaline rush they receive from it. They don’t need the items they take, and they have money to pay for the things. They receive a “rush” or a “high” when they do it just as a drug addict does when he uses drugs.
Is Kleptomania the Same as Being Addicted to Shoplifting?
Kleptomania is not the same as shoplifting. Kleptomania is a rare impulse-control condition which causes individuals to steal, not only from businesses but from anywhere. Kleptomaniacs’ stealing is not for personal gain, rebellion, or a dare. The objects they take are not needed and not necessarily expensive. They do not plan ahead of time to steal the objects; they see them and cannot resist the urge to take them. This is a tremendous source of anxiety for the kleptomaniac, and they often feel remorse afterward. This condition is usually linked to some other mental disorder.
Reasons People Shoplift
People shoplift for different reasons, one of them being drug addiction. Individuals who are addicted to drugs will shoplift and sell the items to obtain money for their drug habit, or steal expensive items such as jewelry and trade it to the drug dealer. This is not necessarily being addicted to shoplifting, since it is done to obtain something else. Research has shown that people, especially teenage boys, shoplift to get spending money and status. These juveniles shoplift and sell the items so they can have spending money and clothes or other items which will bring them social status among their peers.
There are other reasons why people shoplift, such as:
- Low risk of getting caught
- Small fines if caught
- A feeling that it is not as bad to steal from a store as an individual
- Retailers don’t want to pay for extra security and put little effort into prohibiting it
- Self-service methods make it easy
Shoplifting Addiction and More Causes
Shoplifting can be a real addiction when individuals shoplift just for the adrenaline rush and the feeling of euphoria they receive from doing it. This euphoria is the only reason they do it. They may give the items away after stealing them. It has served its purpose to them.
The number one psychological factor in people addicted to shoplifting is depression. This is the reason so many people shoplift on their birthdays or around holidays. These people are struggling with their own personal conflicts and needs. Many shoplifters not only do this but also steal from others. Many of these individuals feel as if they have been done wrong in the past, or they had a bad experience and are angry, so they blame others for their difficulties, and this is a way of vindication
for them. Others feel a sense of entitlement because they have had a bad life.
Listed here are some of the top reasons that people have an addiction to shoplifting:
- Depression – To get a lift of energy
- Loss and grief – To fill a void
- Anger/Bitterness – Life is unfair: To get back or make things right
- Entitlement/Reward – To reward their self for over-giving or overdoing for others
- Boredom/Excitement – To simply see if they can get away with it
- Low self-esteem/Shame – To feel they are good at something
Treatment for Shoplifting Addiction
Shoplifting addiction is a behavioral addiction and is treated in much the same way as drug or alcohol addiction therapy. First, you must admit that this behavior is making your life unmanageable. You must uncover the underlying reasons for this behavior which you will do in one-on-one counseling. Shoplifting addiction often occurs with another issue such as drug abuse, alcohol addiction, bipolar disorder, or some other mental disorder. All of these matters must be addressed for recovery to take place.
In some cases, medication may be necessary to help the addict recover. A medical professional can prescribe medication if needed for anxiety or depression. Medication along with therapy for the psychological issues must be administered. All areas of this disease have to be confronted. Family members should be involved in the treatment process along with support groups for continued help in remaining free from shoplifting addiction.
If you or a family member are struggling with shoplifting addiction, get the help you need and deserve. Don’t wait until you have severe consequences from this very real addiction.