Impulse Control Disorders: 5 Things You Need to Know

October 22, 2016 by admin0

Our ability to control our impulses and urges distinguish us from other animals. It makes us psychologically mature. However, many people have problems when it comes to resisting their urge. And eventually, they end up harming themselves or others. This condition is diagnosed as Impulse Control Disorder.

Impulse control disorder (ICD) is a common psychiatric condition. People suffering from ICD face impairment in social and occupational functioning in such a way that they end up facing financial or legal problems. Some examples of ICDs include kleptomania (urge to steal), compulsive gambling (the impulse to gamble), Trichotillomania (urge to pull out one’s hair), pyromania (urge to set everything on fire) and so on.

Though ICDs are fairly common, but this is also the most misunderstood disorders. Some ICDs respond well to treatment; however, there are many ICDs for which there has been limited or no research at all.

Let’s take a deeper look to understand a few things about ICDs:

1.What causes ICDS?

It’s is still beyond comprehension what causes ICDS. However, a lot of factors (physical, biological, emotional, cultural, and psychological) play an important role in developing ICDs. Scientists suspect that brain structure that control emotions and impulses may cause ICDs. Hormones (such as testosterone) that boost aggressive behaviour are also thought to be a cause of ICDs. Moreover, medication and genetics can also cause ICDs.

2. How it differs from similar mental disorders?

Other mental disorders such as people suffering from Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Bipolar Disorder (specifically the manic period) may face difficulty in controlling their impulses but this is not their actual problem. ICDs may coexist as a part of bigger mental issues. However, people who suffer from ICDs may or may not suffer from any other mental issues.

3. Medications may cause ICDs

People might develop ICD due to certain kind of medication. For instance, people suffering from Parkinson’s disease use medications that treat the Dopamine balance in their brain. These medications can give rise to ICDs.

4. Treatment for ICDs

It is difficult to manage ICDs without taking professional help. ICDs can be cured and professionals (such as psychologists) can help you in leading a compulsion-free life. Treatments for ICD may include medication management, habit reversal (therapy for replacing harmful action with healthy ones), and Impulse control treatment (combination of medication and therapy).

5. What are the most common types of ICDs?

Apart from Kleptomania, Pyromania, and compulsive gambling, the most common types of ICDs include skin picking, compulsive shopping, compulsive sexual behaviour, intermittent explosive disorder (aggressive emotional outbursts), and compulsive lying.

With the right treatment and medication, ICDs can be easily overcome. However, one needs to stick to the treatment and learn ways to relax and control destructive thoughts. Looking for a psychologist in Kolkata for treating ICDs? If yes, then get in touch with our expert psychologists at

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