As humans, the ability to control our impulses and urges helps to distinguish us from other species. But people who have an impulse control disorder struggle with the ability that most of us take for granted. Impulse control disorders include things like kleptomania (stealing), pyromania (setting fires), pathological gambling, uncontrollable outbursts of rage and trichotillomania (pulling out and/or eating of one’s own hair). Committing the acts gives the affected people gratification and relief, but afterwards they often feel guilt and regret.
Scientists aren’t sure what causes these disorders. Certain brain structures like the limbic system and the frontal lobe likely affect it, as so emotional and cultural factors. While different disorders will require different treatment, anyone suspected of suffering from an impulse control disorder should seek treatment from behavioral health services. After a proper psychiatric evaluation has been completed, a proper course of action can be determined.
Impulse control disorders are not rare. An estimated 8.9% of the country’s population has likely suffered from one. If you or a loved one has been struggling, there’s no need to be embarrassed or ignore the issue. Seeking proper treatment will allow you to regain control over your life.