How does mental illness contribute to theft crimes?

How does mental illness contribute to theft crimes?

| Jun 21, 2021 | Theft |

If you face charges of theft, you may feel judged by society. Often, people reduce stealing to taking something dishonestly without permission.

According to Healthline, you may have addictive compulsive disorders or other mental health issues that cause you to steal.

Understanding compulsive stealing

With compulsive stealing, you do not wish to profit or gain something financial out of your theft. Instead, you have the recurrent urge to steal without the ability to stop yourself. You may steal items that have little to no value. Even though you feel guilty about the theft later, you may feel unable to stop yourself later. Often, these events happen spontaneously rather than fully planned.

Understanding the risks of compulsive stealing

Often, genetics and biology affect a person’s risk of compulsive theft. Mental illnesses that may contribute to theft include:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Bipolar disorder

If you have low levels of serotonin, you may find yourself more likely to act impulsively. If you have an addictive disorder or an imbalance in your brain’s opioid system, you may have difficulty controlling any urges.

In general, about two-thirds of all people who struggle with compulsive stealing happen to be women. Psychological and physical trauma may also contribute to the development of stealing later in life.

Often, struggling with these mental health issues can cause you to damage your relationships with friends and family, along with finding trouble with the law. There are treatments available, such as medication and cognitive behavioral therapy to help with compulsive stealing. While medical professionals do not have a cure, you may be able to take medications for depression and anxiety.