Impulse Control Disorder

(Also Known As: Kleptomania, Trichotillomania, Impulsivity, Obsessive Compulsive, Pyromania, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Monomanic Instinctives)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Impulse Control Disorder?

Impulse Control Disorders are described by the inability to resist the desire or craving to do an action that is damaging to one's self or others. In 1838, Jean Etienne Esquirol proposed the term monomanic instinctives to describe behaviors characterized by irresistible urges without apparent motive. According to her, patients with Impulse-Control Disorders do not resist drives or enticements to do something harmful to themselves or others. These impulses, however, are not pre-mediated or planned in advance. Also, the individuals concerned have little or no control over their actions, although they may or may not consciously try to do so. Before they act, patients feel a sense of increasing tension or arousal; afterward there is a sense of pleasure or satisfaction. At times, those with Impulse-Control Disorders still feel guilt or remorse over what they have done, which somehow disturbs their acquired sense of pleasure. Since their behaviors consciously correspond with their desires, Impulse-Control Disorder-related acts are considered ego-syntonic.1 According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), there are six listed categories of Impulse Control Disorders not classified elsewhere, which include Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Kleptomania, Pyromania, Compulsive Gambling Disorder, trichotillomania and Impulse-Control Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS). Although these diseases have been categorized under one class, there are striking divergences and likenesses that set each one apart.2

Could You Have Impulse Control Disorder?

Impulse Control Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Intermittent Explosive Disorder – Extreme Expression of Anger, Impulsiveness, Uncontrolled Rage, Outbursts in Moods
Kleptomania – Compulsion to Steal, Hoarding, Collecting of Things Illegally, Shoplifting
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Intrusive Thoughts, Impulsiveness, Strong Inclination for Something, Compulsive Behavior
Pyromania – Uncontrolled Desire to Set Fire Due to Psychosis, Revenge of Monetary Gains, Euphoria