Most likely, you’ve heard someone reference poor impulse control, whether describing behavior acknowledged in themselves or someone else. In some cases, difficulties with impulse control may actually point to the diagnosis of an impulse control disorder or another mental health condition. So, could you have an impulse control disorder? What about your child? Are there other conditions or concerns that could lead to trouble with impulsivity? Keep reading to learn more and discover how you can find care.
Impulse Control Disorder Types
The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) is utilized by professionals to diagnose and classify mental health conditions. Impulse control disorders exist under the DSM-5 category “Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders.” Within that category, there are eight possible diagnoses. These include:
. Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)
Antisocial Personality Disorder or ASPD is a personality disorder characterized by a continuous, persistent pattern of disregard for and violation of other people. Symptoms include illegal activity, lack of remorse, lying and deceitfulness, impulsivity, aggression, and disregard for the safety of oneself or others. This disorder is diagnosed in adults.
. Intermittent Explosive Disorder
Diagnosed in those aged six and above, this is an impulse control disorder characterized by repeated patterns of behavioral outbursts and aggressive impulses, including verbal aggression, physical aggression, or property damage that aren’t better explained by another diagnosis or condition.
. Conduct Disorder
Conduct disorder is an impulse control disorder that affects kids and adolescents. Symptoms may include aggressive behavior (for example, physical fighting, bullying, or intimidation), property damage, lying, and serious rule violations such as stealing that aren’t better explained by another diagnosis or condition.
. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Oppositional Defiant Disorder or ODD is an impulse control disorder marked by ongoing patterns of argumentative or defiant behavior, angry or irritable mood, and vindictiveness. This disorder is diagnosed in children.
This impulse control disorder is one you might’ve heard of. Pyromania is a disorder characterized by persistent difficulty controlling the impulse to start fires.
Like pyromania, kleptomania is an impulse control disorder that you may have heard of before. Kleptomania is characterized by a recurring, impulsive urge to steal. This is not due to financial need, and items may be of little value in some cases. In fact, people with this specific disorder may steal without planning to do so, hence the impulsive nature of the disorder.
. Unspecified Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorder
This diagnosis is used when a medical professional does not have enough information to provide another diagnosis of a disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorder, but a person displays patterns of a disorder within the category. For example, this might be used in contexts such as an emergency room visit.
. Other Specified Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorder
This disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences clinically significant symptoms but doesn’t meet the criteria for another disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorder after evaluation.
Are these the only conditions that poor impulse control could be symptomatic of? Absolutely not. Various other disorders, such as Bipolar Disorder (during a manic episode) and Borderline Personality Disorder, include impulsivity as a symptom. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is another very common disorder with impulsivity as a symptom. These are all treated differently, so it’s important to work with a qualified medical or mental health professional who can help you determine what might be going on and talk with you about treatment options.
How Do I Know If I Have An Impulse Control Disorder?
Impulse control disorders and other mental health conditions can be diagnosed by a qualified medical provider such as a psychiatrist. If you believe that you or your child may have an impulse control disorder or another condition, look for a specialist in your area or ask your primary care doctor for a referral to someone who can provide an evaluation. If you have health insurance, you may also be able to speak with your insurance company or use a provider search option on their website, if applicable, to find a professional to work with near you.
Impulse Control Disorder Treatment
Whether you have an impulse control disorder, another condition, or struggle with impulse as a whole, the good news is that help is available. Non-invasive treatments such as talk therapy are effective for many conditions, including impulse control disorders and other disorders or concerns that may contribute to difficulty managing impulses. Individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy may all be advantageous depending on the specific matters addressed in therapy. Therapy can be used on its own, or it can be used in combination with other treatments, like medication. Please consult with your doctor before starting, stopping, or changing medication options.
Finding A Talk Therapist
Seeking therapy or counseling is something to be proud of, but not everyone knows where to start. It could be that you struggle with concerns related to impulse control yourself, or it could be that your child does and you feel that you may benefit from having someone to talk to. Alternatively, you may struggle with another concern that impacts your mental health but is unrelated to impulse or impulse control. You can find a talk therapist near you or sign up for an online therapy platform like BetterHelp with licensed providers and clear cost information. Regardless of how you find a provider, you deserve to get the support and care you need.