Impulse control disorders: symptoms, causes and treatment

An impulse is characterized by being something that everyone experiences or feels at some point in their life., And it’s about taking action emotionally or, to put it another way, doing something “without thinking”.

Usually the person is perfectly able to deal with these urges, more or less getting carried away. However, in some people this ability is greatly reduced and can trigger a mental disorder called impulse control disorder.

    What is Impulse Control Disorder?

    Impulse control disorder is defined, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), as disorders in which the person has great difficulty or is unable to resist or resist the urge to act which will end up harming oneself or others.

    In almost all of these behavioral alterations, the patient experiences a feeling of tension or great activation before performing the action, followed by a pleasant emotion or feeling, gratification or even release.

    however, Sometimes the patient may experience feelings of guilt and blame. However, it is not a mandatory condition of impulse control disorder.

    Symptoms are generally chronic and often intrusive, interfering with different areas of the patient’s life. Likewise, people with impulse control disorder tend to have a deficit in the ability to control their emotions, which, along with the symptoms of the disorder, can also cause a number of emotional disturbances.

    In most cases, the disease begins in childhood or adolescence and symptoms tend to worsen over time.


    Although there are many psychological disorders characterized by poor impulse control, some of the more well-known impulse control disorders are as followss.

    1. Intermittent explosive disorder

    In case of intermittent explosive disorder the person experiences recurring chapters of impulsive behavior, Characterized by its aggressiveness and virulence. He can also undertake outbursts of verbal expressions of anger and disproportionate reactions to any situation.

    Some of its symptoms include scolding, domestic violence, or throwing and breaking anything the patient has on hand.

    2. Cleptomania

    Despite being one of the most well-known disorders of impulse control disorders, kleptomania is a complex disorder defined as the inability to retain or control the impulse of clothingr.

    A kleptomaniac person experiences an irresistible urge to steal, many times, in order to calm their emotions. Also, a little-known peculiarity of kleptomania is that the patient usually feels guilty after committing the theft.

    3. Trichotillomania

    Trichotillomania is characterized by the person is unable to suppress the urge to pull their hair, get ripped off, and cause headaches. This disorder is closely associated with trichophagia, in which the person in addition to tearing their hair compulsively ingests it.

    4. Pyromania

    Another well-known psychiatric disorder is pyromania, in which the patient feels the urge to light a fire, feeling pleasant sensation, relief and calm.

    5. Ludopathy

    Gambling addiction is also known as compulsive gambling. the person feels an uncontrollable urgency or a need to perform or persist in gambling-related behaviors, Even if it involves a serious deterioration of your life or significant economic losses.

    6. Dermatilomania

    It is a little-known condition in which the person feels the compulsive need to scratch, Rub, pinch or scratch the skin.

    7. Onychophagia

    Characterized by the habit, sometimes compulsive, of biting the nails. Onychophagia may be the most common and probably the most socially accepted impulse control disorder.

    8. Compulsive shopping

    Irresistible desire to buy spontaneously, without any premeditation. It is commonly known as oniomania.

    9. Compulsive monopolization syndrome

    In this syndrome, the person has a tendency or an obsession to collect and store objects excessively.; whether they have any value, whether harmful or harmful to health.

    In these cases, people may come to live crammed into their homes, surrounded by hundreds of stacked household items. They can also pick up animals, tending to large numbers of animals, often in poor health conditions.

    Symptoms of these disorders

    Due to the large number and diversity of behavioral disorders that encompass impulse control disorders, there are countless symptoms and signs of these. And these will vary depending on the type of ailment the person is suffering from.

    This symptomatology can be divided into physical, behavioral, cognitive and psychosocial symptoms.

    • physical symptoms
    • Marks such as cardinals, bruises or bruises
    • Burn scars from experimentation with fire
    • behavioral symptoms
    • Chapters of Exploding Fury
    • Angry behavior in front of any person, animal or object
    • Flight hoses
    • lies
    • Constantly experimenting with fire or generating fires
    • cognitive symptoms
    • Lack of impulse control
    • Lack of concentration
    • intrusive ideas
    • Obsessive thought patterns
    • Compulsive thought patterns
    • psychosocial symptoms
    • commotion
    • depression

    • anxiety

    • Irritable or aggressive temperament
    • low self-esteem

    • Isolation and loneliness
    • Emotional detachment

    the causes

    The origin and course of impulse control disorders can be found in different causes and can be genetic, physical and environmental.

    1. Genetic causes

    Just as other psychiatric disorders are likely to be caused by genetic causes, several studies have claimed the existence of a genetic influence in the onset and development of impulse control disorders.

    2. Physical causes

    Through the use of neuroimaging techniques, it has been found that patients who present with symptoms typical of an impulse control disorder reveal differences in the brain at a structural level.

    This differentiation could interfere with normal brain function., Including the appropriate activity of neurotransmitters responsible for impulse control.

    3. Environmental causes

    The context or environment in which the person lives is an element that can have a great influence on him, Become an important player in shaping patient behavior.


    As with the great diversity of symptoms, treatment for impulse control disorder will depend on how it is manifested.

    In addition, on rare occasions the person ends up seeking professional assistance or help, occurring only in cases where the disorder has come to interfere too much with the patient’s life or in those cases where it has come to ignore the law.

    However, it has been shown that the most effective interventions are those that combine a psychological approach with pharmacological treatment that decreases the patient’s compulsions.

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