Children Who Steal Or Horde: Symptoms Of Kleptomania
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Children Who Steal Or Horde: Symptoms Of Kleptomania

Kleptomania is a form of stealing, learn what causes this problem in kids. Hording is a different situation that can manifest itself later in life.

Kleptomaniac Definition: The condition of not being able to resist the urge to collect or hoard things. People with this disorder are compelled to steal things, generally objects of little or no significant value, such as pens, paper clips, tape, traffic cones, signs, and small toys.

Kleptomania is a undeniable desire to flick something. This disorder usually begins at adolescence and is seen as rare cases in children. Kleptomaniacs steal because they are mentally unstable, rather than being criminal in thought. Studies have shown that kleptomania is more common in women than men. Nonetheless, children too are affected by it. Let's understand the causes of kleptomania in children.

Causes of Kleptomania in Children

Sadly, what causes kleptomania in children is unknown. As mentioned earlier, women in their late 30's are more at a risk of being kleptomaniacs. The kleptomaniac symptoms may begin to show at an early age of five. The problem of kleptomania is linked to a brain chemical called as Serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical which regulates the moods and emotions of an individual. There is also a theory which believes that kleptomaniac causes maybe related to signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Kleptomaniac Symptoms

Kleptomania in young children is very traumatizing for the parents. Knowing a few kleptomania symptoms will help to deal with a kleptomaniac better.

  • They get tensed and excited, at the same time, before and during stealing.
  • They feel euphoric after they've stolen the object of their affection.
  • A kleptomaniac does not need an accomplice. Hence they never encourage companions.
  • The feelings of rage, anger or revenge do not exist while stealing.
  • A kleptomaniac does not suffer from any hallucinations or is not a schizophrenic.

Young Kleptomaniacs

A desire to steal has its roots in an inferiority complex. Often, a few children feel deprived or feel the need to show off what does not belong to them. In either of the cases, a child is bound to steal. In cases, where children cannot afford a certain item, stealing becomes their only source of acquiring it. However, if your child steals once, it does not mean that the child is a kleptomaniac or a criminal. As a part of growing up, your child may experiment with the limits. However, once you've provided your children with the necessary education regarding consequences of stealing, the desire to steal disappears.

If the action of stealing continues for a longer period of time, then, the problem needs to be medically addressed. As an advice for the parents, understand that kleptomania is a mental disorder and not a criminal act.

How to Deal with Kleptomania in Kids

Kleptomania stems from an underlying psychological problem such as anxiety symptoms.

Kleptomania Treatment

Anti-depressants are also prescribed while dealing with kleptomaniacs. Prozac and Seroxat are the anti-depressants that are prescribed in a kleptomaniac treatment.

Don't be offended if your child's school teacher asks your child to empty the pockets. It may be slightly embarrassing for you and your child. However, this may actually help you seek the answer to what does kleptomaniac mean. Kleptomania in children is a very rare disorder. Nonetheless, it exists.

Hoarding Disorder

Hording is in some ways a disorder. Many people may seem like they are hording, but they are just saving items they feel they may need in the future for some project or that they might be able to sell in the future. This can be anything from aluminum, copper or old appliances and cars.

There of course is a big difference between collecting and hording.

Hording can range from minor to major problems and can cause a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with a problem with discarding items causes the person to have distress at the thought of getting rid of anything.


Extreme Hoarding in Adults

Hoarding can become a very severe problem in adults when they refuse to throw anything away. Family members and friends will start to notice this problem when someone refuses to throw away empty boxes, old food in the refrigerator and at the extreme, even refusing to throw out the trash.

Sometimes the hoarder will feel they will need to use these items in the future and this fear keeps them from throwing out anything and everything. At times this will cause health problems with trash stacking up. Food in the refrigerator will become rancid and at times they refrigerator door cannot even be closed. All in the fear they will need the food in the future.

I have known adults with extreme hoarding that literally damaged their homes. When a furnace or hot water take would break down, they would refuse to call the repairman because they did not want to move their boxes of stuff so that a repairman could go down the stairs. This is severe hording problems because the home then starts to fall apart and become a real health hazard.

Other health hazards include the storing and stacking of newspapers for no reason, and the refusal to throw them away. This causes a real fire hazard. At this point the extreme hoarder will refuse to let anyone into their homes, which seems to imply they know of their problem, but refuses to address it or fix it.

There are also problems with hoarding animals, this is another severe problem, especially when someone feels the need to take in every stray cat and keep them in the home.

When to See a Doctor

If a loved one has this disorder, it is important to talk to a doctor to find out what exactly you can do to help.

There are no known real causes of hoarding other than the fear of need something in the future. Hoarding can usually start as early as 11 to 15 years of age, and get worse as the person ages.

For more information, please see Hoarding Disorder

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