Ad

Introduction to Impulse Control Disorders

Ad Disclosure: Some of our MentalHelp.net recommendations, including BetterHelp, are also affiliates, and as such we may receive compensation from them if you choose to purchase products or services through the links provided

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes a chapter on “Impulse-Control Disorders Not Elsewhere Classified”. Because we aim to mirror the DSM when this is practical, we offer this Impulse Control Disorders topic center.

The impulse control disorders are a loosely grouped set of conditions that have in common that they all centrally feature behavior that is acted out in an uncontrolled, and impulsive manner that often has self-destructive consequences. The DSM lists the following impulse control disorders:

Ad
  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder (characterized by uncontrolled fits of extreme anger and violence)
  • Kleptomania (characterized by irresistible urges to steal various items from stores and homes)
  • Pyromania (characterized by irresistible urges to set fires)
  • Pathological Gambling (characterized by compulsive, uncontrollable gambling)
  • Trichotillomania (characterized by uncontrollable hair twisting and pulling, often resulting in bald spots on an otherwise normal-haired person)

The DSM treats the Impulse-Disorder category as a ‘catch-all'; other disorders involving irresistible urges exist, but are better treated as part of other ‘families' of disorders. Although not listed here, impulse-control problems are at the heart of substance abuse disorders (addiction to alcohol or drugs), and many of the paraphillia/perversion sexual disorders (exhibitionism, frotterism, child molestation, etc.). DSM offers a sometimes arbitrary system of organization and classification, it's true – but it mostly works.

Additional Resources

As advocates of mental health and wellness, we take great pride in educating our readers on the various online therapy providers available. MentalHelp has partnered with several thought leaders in the mental health and wellness space, so we can help you make informed decisions on your wellness journey. MentalHelp may receive marketing compensation from these companies should you choose to use their services.

MentalHelp may receive marketing compensation from the above-listed companies should you choose to use their services.

Ad