Former NY Mayor's Daughter Busted -- Addiction or Not?

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Caroline Giuliani, the daughter of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was caught shoplifting more than $150 worth of cosmetics from an upscale New York City boutique. And the perennial question gets asked again:

Why would someone with plenty of money risk the embarrassment and criminal consequences of theft?

Those who suffer from kleptomania or a shoplifting addiction know full well why... the delicious thrill that comes from the risk -- the flush of excitement and the way it washes all your problems away. At least temporarily.

Does that sound familiar? Does that sound like the justification others give for taking drugs? It should. And that is why, despite the arguments against shoplifting being an actual addiction, those who suffer a compulsion to steal know differently.

Is there any way to tell from news reports that Caroline Giuliani has a shoplifting addiction? Not at all. But there is at least one person who knows the truth either way. She knows.

She knows if she gets the urge to visit stores "just to see what's there" and then, whether the desire builds up and the excitement mounts. Only she knows if the release of tension when she walks out with a hidden item is an addiction. One sign would be: what happens to the items she takes? Does she lose interest in them, maybe stashing them somewhere, unopened, or give them away to friends? The item isn't as important to the shoplifting addict as the deed. And that explains why money isn't a remedy. This isn't stealing to gain a thing, it's stealing to feel the rush.

We can thank her for one thing at least. Publicity of a problem shared by many, many people. Whether or not she is addicted, others are and we need to shine some light on the problem.

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