Impulse Control Disorder

Impulse Control Disorder is actually a 'catch-all' phrase for a collection of similar psychiatric disorders, including nail biting (onychophagia), compulsive skin picking (dermatillomania), hair pulling (trichotillomania), starting fires (pyromania), stealing (kleptomania), and so on.

The key feature in all of these disorderes is impulsivity. Impulsivity can be thought of as seeking a small, short term gain at the expense of a large, long term loss and being unable to self-regulate.

Those with the disorder repeatedly demonstrate failure to resist their behavioral urges.

Impulse control disorders are considered to be part of the obsessive-compulsive disorder spectrum.

Essentially, people who have an impulse control disorder cannot avoid doing things that might bring harm to themselves or others.

Typically, sufferers feel some type of increasing anxiety before committing the action, like pressure building up. Then, after the action, they feel relief or even happiness, despite the possibly dangerous consequences.

In general, all of these problems are characterized by an inability to control one's actions, and the results can have a very negative impact on the person's life, as well as the lives of others.

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