What is Impulse Control Disorder?

Most people struggle to understand impulse control disorders because they seem like they should be easy to handle. The description is actually self explanatory as impulse control disorders refer to individuals who cannot resist the impulses or urges to do something harmful. This includes everything from addictions to eating disorders to kleptomania.

In most cases, the individual feels powerless to control the impulse. The impulse typically develops in response to stress or feeling out of control. Participating in the act itself generally results in feelings of pleasure and gratification, but shortly after, feelings of guilt and grief may arise. However, the more dangerous form of impulse control relates to individuals who do not have any regret for their negative actions and therefore have no desire to change.

Impulse Control Disorder
What is Impulse Control Disorder?

The primary distinction between an impulse control disorder and other disorders such as bipolar manic depressive and ADHD is that the impulse control is the primary focus. While individuals struggling with ADHD have to fight to keep their attention focused on an item, the impulse control is not the primary symptom.

Methods Typically Used in Therapy for Impulse Control Disorder

When preparing for therapy in an impulse control disorder, the focus is reversed from many of the other treatments. Most people only seek assistance for impulse control when it has gotten out of control and is entering dangerous territory.

Understanding the root cause may be a primary or secondary issue depending on the severity of the impulse. Behavioral treatments and modifications may require that the patient be cut off cold turkey from the addiction or opportunity such as alcohol or drugs while others require a weaning process. Hypnosis and constructive role playing exercises are common techniques in this area of therapy. In some cases, anti anxiety and depression medication may be necessary along with regular monitoring of the patient.

Reasons for Hiring a Therapist

In dealing with impulse control disorders, a therapist is almost always required. The behaviors that develop from an impulse control issue can quickly take over a patient’s life, and they tend to escalate cumulatively. This means that the initial signs may be slow and even easy to ignore. However, as the symptoms continue to worsen, the speed of the destructive behaviors will increase as well. As soon as you start to notice an impulse control disorder, you need to start speaking with a therapist. Treatment will be significantly shorter if you deal with it in the early stages rather than letting it develop deep within your psyche.

What to Look for in a Therapist

The kind of therapist you want will depend on the kind of impulse control you struggle with. An addiction therapist or an eating disorder specialist would be appropriate for the corresponding issue. However, in some cases, you may do better working with a therapist who works with your particular age group with a general specialization in the area you struggle. This is most common for children and teenagers. Search TherapyTribe – directory for a therapist that meets your specific needs and find the right therapist for you or your loved one.