kleptomania (klĕpˌtəmāˈnēə) [key] [Gr., = craze for stealing], irresistible compulsion to steal, motivated by neurotic impulse rather than material need. No specific cause is known. The condition is considered generally as the result of some underlying emotional disturbance rather than as a form of neurosis in itself. Legally kleptomania is not classified as insanity, and individuals are held responsible except when complete lack of control over their actions can be definitely established.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on kleptomania from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Psychology and Psychiatry