Kleptomania in a 15-year-old boy with ADHD – a case report

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Abstract

Aim: The aim of the study was 1) to report the case of a 15-year-old boy who developed kleptomania symptoms during methylphenidate treatment and 2) to review the available therapeutic options for kleptomania based on a literature search of Medline and Google Scholar databases (2000–2018).

Case report: For the past seven years a 15-year-old boy had participated in counselling at a psychological counselling centre because of school problems and upbringing difficulties, and had a five-year history of psychiatric treatment for ADHD. He was admitted to the Department of Psychiatry because of recurrent stealing episodes that occurred during methylphenidate treatment. During the hospitalization, the patient did not observe the therapeutic contract – he stole items from other patients. Pharmacotheraputic and psychotherapeutic treatment resulted in a partial improvement in impulsive behaviour. At discharge, he spoke critically of his previous conduct and expressed readiness to continue treatment in an outpatient setting.

Conclusions:

  1. Kleptomania has a very negative impact on a patient's overall well-being.
  2. In the reported case, kleptomania developed during methylphenidate treatment.
  3. Kleptomania should always be taken into account as a possible cause of stealing during a psychiatric examination, to avoid stigmatization of patients as criminals.
  4. Pharmacotherapy and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy focused on the development of strategies, which can help the patient to control the urge to steal, are important components of kleptomania treatment.

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