Impulse control disorders

Impulse control is the ability to stop ourselves from acting on our feelings or urges alone.

Some people find it hard to control their impulses in certain situations.

People with these kinds of difficulties will often feel a heightened sense of tension or irritation in these kinds of situations, and only feel relief after they have acted out their feelings, urges or impulses.

This can result in self-harm and/or harm to others. Kleptomania and pyromania are both examples of impulse control disorders.

Kleptomania is the recurrent impulse to steal objects not only for personal use or financial gain, but because there is psychological tension that needs to be satisfied trough stealing.

Pyromania is the purposeful and deliberate impulse to set fires, which is relieved through being involved with or setting fires. These kinds of disorders start in childhood, and last into adulthood if not treated effectively.

Social causes of these disorders include poor parental coaching and modelling around impulse control, family violence, alcohol abuse and promiscuity in the home, and other anti-social behaviour in the home.

Treatment will need the support of psychiatrists and psychologists.

Reveshni Moodley

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