Impulse Control Disorder

icd

Impulse control disorder is a set of psychiatric disorders including intermittent explosive disorder, kleptomania, pathological gambling, pyromania (fire-starting), and three body-focused repetitive or compulsive behaviors (trichotillomania, a compulsion to pull one’s hair out; onychophagia, compulsive nail biting; and dermatillomania, compulsive skin picking). The onset of these disorders usually occurs between the ages of 7 and 15. Impulsivity, the key feature of these disorders, can be thought of as seeking a small, short term gain at the expense of a large, long term loss. Those with the disorder repeatedly demonstrate failure to resist their behavioral impetuosity.

Considered to be part of the obsessive-compulsive disorder spectrum, impulse control disorders are often associated with substance use disorders because ‘it has been speculated that these disorders are mediated by alterations of partially overlapping neural circuits.’¬†Impulse control disorders have two treatment options: psychosocial and pharmacological. Treatment methodology is informed by the presence of comorbid conditions.

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