Patient Care

Impulse Control Disorder

What are Impulse Control Disorders?

Impulse Control Disorders are a class of disorders categorised under Disruptive, Impulse-Control and Conduct Disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). These disorders are characterised by poor impulse control related to specific behaviours. Examples of Impulse Control Disorders include Pyromania and Kleptomania.

How are Impulse Control Disorders diagnosed?

Impulse Control Disorders are diagnosed by a mental health clinician through a clinical interview and the use of appropriate assessment tools.

The criteria used to diagnose Pyromania include:
  • Deliberate and purposeful fire setting on more than one occasion
  • Tension or affective arousal before the act
  • Fascination with, interest in, curiosity about, or attraction to fire and its situational contexts
  • Pleasure, gratification, or relief when setting fires or when witnessing or participating in their aftermath
  • The fire setting is not done for monetary gain, as an expression of sociopolitical ideology, to conceal criminal activity, to express anger or vengeance, to improve one’s living circumstances, in response to a delusion or hallucination, or as a result of impaired judgment
The criteria used to diagnose Kleptomania include:
  • Recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal objects that are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value
  • Increasing sense of tension immediately before committing the theft
  • Pleasure, gratification, or relief at the time of committing the theft
  • The stealing is not committed to express anger or vengeance and is not in response to a delusion or a hallucination
What are the treatment options for Impulse Control Disorders?

Cognitive behavioural therapy is typically employed to treat Impulse Control Disorders. This may include cognitive behavioural techniques such as covert sensitisation, imaginal desensitisation, systematic desensitisation, aversion therapy, relaxation training, and diversification.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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