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A Medication for Kleptomania?

It appears that a drug commonly used to treat alcohol and drug addiction has a similar effect on the compulsive behavior of kleptomaniacs — it curbs their urge to steal.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Medical School conducted an eight-week, double-blind study of 25 men and women ages 17-75, who spent an average of at least one hour a week stealing.

Those who took the drug Naltrexone (mean dose of 117 mg/day) reported significantly greater decline in stealing behavior compared to those taking placebo.

The research is published in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

“It gets rid of that rush and desire,” said Jon Grant, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., a University of Minnesota associate professor of psychiatry and principal investigator of the study.

“The difference in their behavior was significant, and these people were really troubled by their behavior.”

A recent, large epidemiological study of about 43,000 adults found that more than 11 percent of the general population admitted to having shoplifted in their lifetime. It is unclear, however, how many people who steal suffer from kleptomania.

While the drug is not a cure for kleptomania, Grant said it offers hope to those who are suffering from the addiction. He also said the drug would most likely work best in combination with individual therapy.

“These are people who steal even though they can easily afford not to,” Grant said.

Source: University of Minnesota

A Medication for Kleptomania?

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). A Medication for Kleptomania?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/04/02/a-medication-for-kleptomania/5106.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.