What are impulse-control disorders?

The essential feature of impulse-control disorders is the failure to resist an impulse, drive, or temptation to perform an act that is harmful to the person or to others.

For most of the disorders the individual feels an increasing sense of tension or arousal before committing the act and then experiences pleasure, gratification, or relief at the time of committing the act. Following the act there may or may not be regret, self-reproach, or guilt. Impulse-control disorders include:

  • Trichotillomania
  • Intermittent explosive disorder
  • Kleptomania
  • Pyromania
  • Pathological gambling

Source: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

(November 2008)

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