Impulse Control Disorders

Impulse control disorders include a specific list of impulsive behaviors that have been accepted as psychiatric disorders. They can all be loosely defined as the individual’s failure to resist impulsive acts or behaviors that may be harmful to themselves or others.

Impulsive behavior or acts are involved when there is no pre-mediation and the individual has little or no control over their behavior or actions. These can include violent behavior, sexual behavior, gambling behavior, fire starting, stealing, and self-abusive behaviors.

A diagnosis of impulse control disorder is used when there is a mental health issue is present. In many cases, the individual may have more than one formal psychiatric diagnosis.

Categories of impulse control disorders include:

  • Ÿ  Trichotillomania (pulling out and/or eating of one’s own hair)
  • Ÿ  Intermittent Explosive Disorder (uncontrollable outbursts of rage)
  • Ÿ  Pathological Gambling
  • Ÿ  Kleptomania (inability to refrain from stealing)
  • Ÿ  Pyromania (uncontrollable urge to set fires)
  • Ÿ  Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)

Impulse control disorders can be treated with behavior therapy, medication, or a combination of both.