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Introduction to Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders

Kathryn Patricelli, MA

image by Nicu Buculei (lic)The 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes a category for Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders.

All of the disorders in this category involve problems controlling behavior and emotions. The disorders are typically seen in childhood or adolescence and are rarely first seen in adulthood.

The DSM-5 lists the following impulse control disorders:

  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder (characterized by uncontrolled fits of extreme anger and violence)
  • Pyromania (characterized by irresistible urges to set fires)
  • Kleptomania (characterized by irresistible urges to steal various items from stores and homes)
  • Conduct Disorder (characterized by repetitive and persistent behaviors that violate the basic rights of other people or that violate age-appropriate societal rules)

Several disorders were previously listed in this category, but have now been moved to other sections. These include:

  • Exhibitionism (characterized by recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the exposure of one's genitals to an unsuspecting stranger)
  • Pathological Gambling (characterized by compulsive, uncontrollable gambling)
  • Trichotillomania (characterized by uncontrollable hair twisting and pulling, often resulting in bald spots on an otherwise normal-haired person)

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