ICDs can start at any age. But, many start when you're a child or a teen. Symptoms are based on the ICD you have.
ICDs may cause:
Injuries from fights or burns from starting fires
Lying or stealing
Compulsive or repetitive behaviors
Irritability, impatience, or anger
Problems with your family, partner, or spouse
Repeated problems with other people in your life, school, or work
Problems with money or the law, which may involve being arrested
People with ICDs tend to feel:
Growing tension before the act
Pleasure or eurphoria during the act
Relief after the act—there may or may not be feelings of guilt or distress
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A psychological exam will be done. Some people may have burns or other injuries that can be seen. This makes diagnosing an ICD easier. For others, it can be made based on your pattern of behavior that doesn’t have a better explanation.
ICDs are treated with:
One or more medicines may be needed. It may take some time to find the right ones. They are used to balance the chemicals in your brain. The most common are antidepressants, but others can be used.
Therapy may be done alone or in a group. It will help you to cope with problems that contribute to ICD. It also helps you change how you react to urges.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
(CBT)—A form of talk therapy focusing on how to handle stressful situations. CBT helps you change how you think so you take control of your feelings.
Family therapy—Helps other people in your family with support and coping skills.
There is no way to prevent ICDs since the cause is unknown.
Dell’Osso B, Altamura AC, Allen A, Marazziti D, Hollander E. Epidemiologic and Clinical updates on impulse control disorders: a critical review. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2006;256(8):464-475.
Ploskin D. What are impulse control disorders? Psych Central website. Available at: https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-are-impulse-control-disorders. Updated July 17, 2016. Accessed August 30, 2018.
Schreiber L, Odlaug BL, Grant JE. Impulse control disorders: updated review of clinical characteristics and pharmacological management. Front Psychiatry. 2011;2:1.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 8/30/2018
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