Differential Diagnosis and Psychodynamic Approach in Kleptomania: A Case Report

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Baltacioglu M., Essizoglu A., YENİLMEZ Ç., Kaptanoglu C.

DUSUNEN ADAM-JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY AND NEUROLOGICAL SCIENCES, vol.28, no.1, pp.66-72, 2015 (ESCI) identifier identifier


Kleptomania is the inability to refrain from the urge to steal items for reasons other than personal use or financial gain. The disorder is frequently under-diagnosed and is regularly accompanied by other psychiatric disorders; particularly anxiety disorders, eating disorders and affective disorders. Our patient is a 19-year-old female, who was referred to our hospital from a general state hospital. She suffered from a desire to steal things such as makeup materials and perfume. She also complained carrying out inappropriate sexual behavior. She had depressive and obsessive-compulsive symptoms and attempted suicide three times in past years. She knew her grandmother as her mother, despite living in the same household. According to classical psychoanalytical theory; kleptomania is a defense against unconscious impulses, desires, conflicts and needs. The individual who is prone to narcissistic injury tries to prevent the self from disintegrating by the way of stealing behavior. Among psychodynamic theories, ego psychology, self-psychology and object relations theory also have explanations for kleptomania. This case has symptoms that belong to other psychiatric disorders. Thus, the case presented here is important for its emphasis on the fact that categorical and symptom oriented approaches are far from considering patients as a whole.