Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Drug Suppresses The Compulsion To Steal, Study Shows

Date:
April 3, 2009
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
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, according to new research.

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, according to new research at the University of Minnesota.

Related Articles


Kleptomania is a type of impulse control disorder characterized by persistent and recurrent patterns of stealing, where afflicted individuals often experience an irresistible urge to steal items they often don't even need. In a rigorous study design, researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine recruited individuals with kleptomania who were actively experiencing urges to steal and randomized them to receive treatment with either naltrexone or placebo.

Naltrexone is a drug that blocks the effects of endogenous opiates that may be released during stealing; in other words, it blocks the part of the brain that feels pleasure with certain addictive behaviors. They found that after eight weeks of treatment, naltrexone was able to reduce the urges to steal and stealing behavior in people with kleptomania. Its side effects were generally mild.

The Medical School's Department of Psychiatry conducted a 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 117mg/day) reported significantly greater decline in stealing behavior compared to those taking placebo.

"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.

Naltrexone is approved by the FDA for use in alcohol and opiate dependence, but it also has been studied and proved successful in helping gambling addicts. Naltrexone is sold under the brand names Revia and Depade. An extended-release formulation is sold under the name Vivitrol.

The research was supported by a Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Grant et al. A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of the Opiate Antagonist, Naltrexone, in the Treatment of Kleptomania. Biological Psychiatry, 2009; 65 (7): 600 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.11.022

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Drug Suppresses The Compulsion To Steal, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401101900.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2009, April 3). Drug Suppresses The Compulsion To Steal, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401101900.htm
University of Minnesota. "Drug Suppresses The Compulsion To Steal, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401101900.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins