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Impulse Control Disorders


Overview :

All of these impulse control disorders involve the loss or lack of control in certain specific situations. The hallmark of these disorders is the individual's inability to stop impulses that may cause harm to themselves or others. Affected individuals often feel anxiety or tension in considering these behaviors. This anxiety or tension is relieved or diminished once the action is performed.

Intermittent explosive disorder is more common among men, and involves aggressive outbursts that lead to assaults on others or destruction of property. These outburst are unprovoked or seem to be out of proportion to the event that precedes them.

Kleptomania is more common among women, and involves the theft of objects that are seemingly worthless. The act of stealing relieves tension and is seen by the individual to be rewarding. The actual stealing is not preplanned, and the concept of punishment for the crime does not occur to these individuals, although they are aware that what they are doing is wrong.

Pyromania is more common among men, and involves setting fires in order to feel pleasure and relieve tension.

Pathological gambling occurs in roughly 1-3% of the population, and involves excessive gambling despite heavy monetary losses. These losses actually act as a motivating factor in continuing gambling in order to recoup some of what was lost.

Trichotillomania involves pulling hair from one's own scalp, face, or body, and is more common in women. It often begins in childhood, and is often associated with major depression or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.




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