Drug for alcoholism also curbs compulsive thieving instincts

April 1st, 2009 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 1 (IANS) A medication for treating alcohol and drug addiction also curbs compulsive thieving instincts, according to a new research.
University of Minnesota (U-M) Medical School’s psychiatry department conducted an eight-week, double-blind study of 25 men and women aged 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 behaviour compared to those taking placebo.

“It gets rid of that rush and desire,” said Jon Grant, U-M associate professor of psychiatry and principal investigator of the study. “The difference in their behaviour was significant, and these people were really troubled by their behaviour,” he added.

A recent epidemiological study of about 43,000 adults found that more than 11 percent admitted to having shoplifted in their lifetime. Epidemiology is the study of factors affecting the health and illness of populations.

It is unclear, however, how many people who steal suffer from kleptomania (thieving instinct).

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, said a U-M release.

“These are people who steal even though they can easily afford not to,” Grant said.

The research was published in the Wednesday issue of the Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

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