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EXPERT REVIEW: Kleptomania,the mental health disorder Seun Egbegbe may be suffering from(MUST READ)

Dr. Lala .A.

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Dear readers in addition to providing you medical news, you know how we try to educate based on what’s happening in our environment.
So the latter part of last week, news broke out about a certain celeb caught for attempting to defraud some Bureau de Change operators in the premises of a Lagos hospital, a few weeks after allegedly stealing 8 iphones worth millions of naira in the famous computer village in Ikeja vicinity of Lagos. Note that the case of the theft of the iphones is still in court. In lieu of this, attempting another fraud is quite unbelievable.

However, several people have argued for and against him being a kleptomaniac. This is just some few pointers towards understanding Kleptomania.
1) Kleptomania is the recurrent failure to resist urges to steal items that you generally don’t really need and that usually have little value. Kleptomania is a serious mental health disorder that can cause much emotional pain to victims and their loved ones if not treated.

2) Kleptomania is a type of impulse control disorder (a disorder that’s characterized by problems with emotional or behavioral self-control). An impulse control disorder makes it difficult to resist the temptation or drive to perform an act that’s excessive or harmful. About 0.3 – 0.6% of the population are kleptomaniacs.

3) Kleptomania symptoms may include:
• Inability to resist powerful urges to steal items that you don’t need
• Feeling increased tension, anxiety or arousal leading up to the theft
• Feeling pleasure, relief or gratification while stealing
• Feeling terrible guilt, remorse, self-loathing, shame or fear of arrest after the theft
• Return of the urges and a repetition of the kleptomania cycle

4) The differences between kleptomaniacs and shop-lifters are;
• Unlike typical shoplifters, people with kleptomania don’t compulsively steal for personal gain, on a dare or out of rebellion. They steal simply because the urge is so powerful that they can’t resist it.
• Episodes of kleptomania generally occur spontaneously, usually without planning and without help or collaboration from another person.
• Most people with kleptomania steal from public places, such as stores and supermarkets.
• Often, the stolen items have no value to the person with kleptomania, and the person can afford to buy them.
• The stolen items are usually stashed away, never to be used. Items may also be donated, given away to family or friends, or even secretly returned to the place from which they were stolen.
• Urges to steal may come and go or may occur with greater or lesser intensity over the course of time.

5) People with higher risks of kleptomania include;
• Those who have a first degree relative like a parent or sibling with kleptomania, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance or alcohol use problem.
• Females; About two-thirds of people with known kleptomania are women.
• People with mental illnesses like eating disorder, anxiety disorder
• People who have had head trauma or brain injuries.

6) Kleptomania can be treated with therapy, drugs like mood stabilisers, antidepressants. If you suspect anyone has kleptomania or you do, please get treatment by making an appointment with a behavioural therapist today. Do not wait till it is too late.
Dear readers, the question is up to you. Is this a case of kleptomania or not?

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Dr. Lala .A. is a graduate of University of Ilorin who also holds a Diploma in Computer Engineering. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who aspires to be a plastic surgeon involved in creating awareness about women's rights and responsibilities and also training would be surgeons. She is a proud member of various reputable bodies including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI). She loves to read, write, sleep and play the drums in her spare time.

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