How to intervene in impulse control disorders?

The pulses are defined by the need or urgency to perform a certain behavior, using emotion and putting reason aside.

When the person experiences this sensation, our capacity for self-control is set in motion to decide what to do and to what extent we let ourselves be carried away by this impulse.

However, there is a segment of the population who find it very difficult to manage impulses and execute action, regardless of the possible consequences. In these cases, the well-known impulse control disorder is presented. Let’s see how he is treated in therapy.

What is an impulse control disorder?

Impulse control disorder is characterized by the inability or great difficulty resisting an action, Even when the behavior is detrimental to the person or his environment.

According to Ana Claudia Alda, psychologist at the psychologist’s office in Málaga PsicoAbreu, during the person experiences a state of tension and activation which is relieved by performing the behavior. So, after you finish it, you experience a feeling of liberation and pleasure.

Sometimes people who suffer from this disorder show feelings of guilt and remorse for the actions taken.

It is a psychological problem that appears in adolescence and it is maintained over time if there is no correct psychological intervention. Likewise, this disorder ends up affecting all areas of the individual, as his emotional management is affected in all areas of his life (work, school, family, social or partner).

Classification of Impulse Control Disorders

The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) establishes the category “Disruptive Disorders, Impulse Control and Behavioral Disorders” to collect disorders related to regulation of behavior and emotion. Thus, the following disorders are differentiated:

1. Contestation of the negativist disorder

It is a pattern of irritability, anger, argument, challenge or revenge in interpersonal relationships. This disorder appears in childhood and early adolescence.

Suffer from this alteration he may be at risk for emotional or behavioral problems in the future. In these cases, there is evidence of a lack of anger management and control over behaviors such as arguing.

2. Behavior disorder

The individual’s response pattern is a range of behaviors that they violate the fundamental rights of others and the social norms of age.

Self-control over these behaviors is practically nil, despite the consequences of their execution.

3. Intermittent explosive disorder

It is characterized by a disproportionate aggressive response pattern facing the triggering situation.

These impulsive cramps start very quickly and last less than 30 minutes. In addition to the main rage, it is common to find verbal or physical aggression of lesser intensity.

4. Pyromania

The person suffering from this disorder has deliberately caused or attempted to cause fires on several occasions.

Patients with this disorder usually experience a feeling of tension just before the start of the fire, and it goes away after lighting it.

6. Cleptomania

It is characterized by the inability to resist the urge to steal things, Even if they are not necessary. As with pyromania, a feeling of tension is felt before the flight behavior, followed by a feeling of relief and pleasure.

Other problems related to this alteration

In addition to these disorders mentioned, there are other problems that have in common the lack of impulse control. Some of them are the ones we will see in these lines.

1. Compulsive shopping

This type of shopping is characterized by the fact that the person has the need to persistently buy, And is unable to resist it.

In addition, while shopping, you experience a feeling of short-term pleasure. However, soon after, emotions such as disappointment and guilt emerge, along with promises not to do it again.

2. Games of chance or pathological games of chance

The person with gambling disorder feels the urge to gamble uncontrollably. This kind of game it is maintained despite the negative consequences it entails in the different fields (family, professional, economic, social).

3. Onychophagia

It is characterized by the uncontrollable urge to eat her nails, so this behavior ends up becoming a daily habit. It usually appears in situations of stress, anxiety and distress.

4. Trichotillomania

This is a desire to pluck the hair, Resulting in great loss of the same. Although the person has tried to avoid doing it several times, they are unable to resist the impulse.

Psychological intervention in these patients

Psychologist Ana Claudia Alda confirms this the most appropriate treatment for this type of disorder is psychotherapy. During the therapy in his work in the Psicolegs Malaga PsicoAbreu practice, different aspects are discussed that will help the person to control his impulses:

  • Identify the voltage signals before the pulse.
  • Learning regulatory strategies is excitingl alternatives to driving behavior.
  • Work with thoughts that make it difficult to control impulses.

All this must be accompanied by the supervision of the psychotherapist who, in addition to giving instructions, participates in the “training” of the patients to overcome the impulse control disorder.

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