Is there a link between shoplifting and kleptomania?

On behalf of Brian D. Roman, Attorney at Law on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

If you are currently facing shoplifting charges in Massachusetts there are a few things you should know. A conviction for any theft-related crime can have serious repercussions for you with respect to your employment. This is particularly true for people working in professions that place a great deal of value on personal character and high moral standards. A shoplifting conviction often results in those employees losing their jobs, even in cases where the shoplifting has no connection to their work activities.

It's also important for you to know that shoplifting is often a symptom of a larger problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who suffer from kleptomania differ from regular shoplifters because they are typically not interested in personal gain when they steal items. In fact, victims of kleptomania are often overwhelmed by powerful urges to steal things that they do not need. It is not uncommon for people suffering with this condition to actually be able to purchase the items that they stole. In many cases kleptomania victims actually gift or donate the items they take.

One of the hallmarks of kleptomania is that many victims often live in a cycle of shame. Typically this begins with an increasing amount of aroused or anxious feelings leading up to the theft. Once the theft has occurred it is often then followed by a pleasurable feeling of gratification. Finally, the victim experiences deep feelings of guilt, shame and remorse for being unable to control their urge to steal. Thus, those bad feelings often initiate a new shame cycle involving more stealing.

If this pattern of behavior seems familiar to you then you may want to discuss this with your Massachusetts attorney. Your attorney is bound by strict rules of confidentiality and cannot discuss your illness with anyone without your consent. With your permission, it may be possible for your attorney to negotiate with prosecutors for a plea settlement agreement. If successful, prosecutors may be willing to allow you to undergo treatment for your kleptomania in exchange for a reduction in the charges against you.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Diseases and Conditions Kleptomania," accessed May. 12, 2015