Behavioral Addictions and Criminal Responsibility – 2017-12

Certain behavioral addictions pose difficult and unresolved problems for the criminal justice system. These disorders are characterized by strong desire states and may be associated with illegal behaviors that are committed to support the addiction. In this article, we begin with a general account of criminal responsibility and provide the legally relevant phenomenology and cognitive features of behavioral addictions. We then discuss how the legal system has approached two behavioral addictions, gambling disorder and kleptomania, during criminal trials and at sentencing. The conclusion summarizes an approach to the adjudication of behavioral addiction-related criminal behavior.

Austin W. Blum and Jon E. Grant
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, December 2017