In most cases, the behaviors are detrimental to the individual or those around him, such as violent or illegal acts. Impulse control behaviors may be seen alone or they may be diagnosed with other mental illnesses. Substance use disorders also tend to occur frequently with impulse control problems.

Symptoms of Impulse Control

The symptoms of an impulse control disorder will vary, based on the specific type of impulse the person is struggling with. However, most impulse control issues will follow the same basic pattern:

  • The impulse appears
  • Tension builds as a result of the impulse
  • Acting on the impulse brings immediate gratification or pleasure
  • Relief usually follows the immediate pleasure
  • Guilt eventually replaces the pleasurable feelings

Treatment for Impulse Control

There are different options for treating an impulse control disorder:


Cognitive behavior therapy has been proven effective in the treatment of some types of impulse control disorders. This talk therapy typically involves assessing the condition, developing stress management techniques, preventing damaging behaviors and learning specific problem-solving skills.


Some types of impulse disorders may also respond well to antidepressant medications like Prozac and Effexor.

Avoidance of High Risk Situations

This will vary based on the specific type of impulse control disorder to be addressed. The primary point is to stay away from situations or people that might prompt the urge to perform the impulse.

Impulse Control and Substance Abuse

Research has shown a strong correlation between impulse control and substance use disorders. A diagnosis of both conditions simultaneously can complicate the treatment process for both. However, by addressing both conditions at the same time during treatment, there is a good chance that both conditions will be treated properly. To learn more about impulse control disorders and how they affect substance abuse, contact Treatment Now.