True kleptomania has traditionally been viewed as a very rare condition, though Dr. Marcus Goldman, in his 1997 book Kleptomania (New Horizon Press), tries to expand upon the definition to include more persons.
I named our support group C.A.S.A. (Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) to include not only shoplifters, but people who embezzle, steal from others or from their workplace, or who are engaged in any other kind of repeated forms of fraud.
I figured the term kleptomaniac is generally understood, therefore, as "someone who steals a lot but not particularly for the monetary gain". C.A.S.A. also created the acronym which, in Spanish, means "home" ("casa"). Since 1992, roughly 90% of C.A.S.A. members are people who steal addictive-compulsively; kleptomaniacs steal more impulsively. Note the differences. (Kleptomania is defined as in DSM IV.) For more distinctions, see the Differing Types.
|Recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal objects not needed for personal use or their monetary value (no premeditation)||Recurrent failure to resist obsessive, addictive, or compulsive thoughts/urges to steal objects which often are used even if not needed (degrees of premeditation).|
|Increasing sense of tension immediately before committing the theft.||Already ever-present tension usually well before commission of the theft.|
|Pleasure or relief at the time of committing the theft (often not fully aware of committing the theft and usually no guilt after)||Pleasure/relief at time of or just after committing theft (more conscious of act than kleptomaniac and usually feels guilt or shame after)|
|The stealing is not committed to express anger or vengeance.||The stealing is very often an acting out of anger or a way of trying to "make life right"|
|The stealing is not due to Conduct Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder.||Same. Most people who steal are good/caring/law-abiding (some get cross-addicted or get addicted to dollars or thrills)|
|Something for Nothing
Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery
By Terrence D. Shulman
Click to Email
JD, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC, CPC
The Shulman Center