Vol. 6, No. 4, 2000 Page 7

Case study: concussion linked to urge to steal

Can head injuries lead to kleptomania? Yes, according to a case presented by Lynn Yang at a recent meeting of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Yang's patient, a 47-year-old graphic designer, had no history of psychological problems or antisocial behavior. After suffering a mild concussion when his head hit a plastic partition during a taxi accident, Yang reports, the man developed severe cogniti ive problems, short-term memory loss, and attention problems. He also lost his creative abilities, and began exhibiting impulsive behavior including kleptomania. A PET scan revealed reduced activity in the man's temporal lobes and right visual cortex.

Yang says the man is no longer able to work as a graphic artist, but is beginning to overcome his cognitive problems through drug treatment and behavioral therapy.


"Mild concussion triggered kleptomania, Mary Ann Moon, Clinical Psychiatry News, Vol. 28, No. 2, 2000, p. 30.

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