Kleptomania or common theft – diagnostic and judicial difficulties
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Wojewódzki Szpital dla Nerwowo i Psychicznie Chorych w Świeciu
Submission date: 2017-03-20
Final revision date: 2017-11-01
Acceptance date: 2018-01-09
Online publication date: 2018-02-28
Publication date: 2018-02-28
Corresponding author
Justyna Sipowicz   

Wojewódzki Szpital Dla Nerwowo i Psychicznie Chorych, Sądowa 18, 86-100 Świecie, Polska
Psychiatr Pol 2018;52(1):81-92
First descriptions of kleptomania as a mental disorder date back to the nineteenth century. For the first time, kleptomania as an accompanying symptom rather than a formal diagnosis was included in the classification of psychiatric disorders of the American Psychiatric Association DSM-I in 1952. It was included in the International Classification of Diseases ICD-10 and classified under “habit and impulse disorders”. Kleptomania is a serious disorder, as numerous thefts are impulsively carried out, carrying the risk of detection and consequently criminal liability. In Poland, we lack epidemiological data, however, it is estimated that 5% of those who commit theft are affected by kleptomania. People suffering from this disorder often do not seek a medical opinion so reviewing such cases is challenging for expert psychiatrists. The authors have proposed the term “kleptomania spectrum” for defining cases in which patients have an intense urge to steal, experienced a sense of tension from such an action, and relief following it, however, the criterion of theft of a superfluous object, without a profitable motive for themselves or others is not met.
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