How is kleptomania treated?

Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is the main treatment for impulse control disorders. The goal of therapy is to help the person understand why he or she acts on the impulse, and to learn how to respond to the urges in a more appropriate way. It also is important to treat any other disorders that might be present, such as depression or anxiety.

Treatment for kleptomania typically focuses on behavior management. In some cases, medication might be used as part of the treatment program. Certain antidepressant medications, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), might be useful in helping to curb very intense urges.

Other medications are being studied for use in people with kleptomania. One drug, naltrexone (Revia®, Vivitrol®), has shown some promise in controlling impulse-based behavior. The drug is now used to help alcoholics control the urge to drink.

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