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What is an Impulse Control Disorder?

Impulse Control Disorders (ICDs) are mental health conditions where people struggle to resist urges that can harm themselves or others. These disorders can seriously affect daily life and relationships. At Buckeye Recovery Network in Orange County, CA, we specialize in treating ICDs and other mental health issues. Our programs include Dual Diagnosis Treatment, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), and Aftercare services. This blog will explain what ICDs are, how they are treated, and the exceptional care provided at our center.

Impulse Control Disorders

Impulse Control Disorders are mental health conditions where people can’t resist impulses that lead to harmful actions. These disorders can affect anyone and often start in childhood or adolescence, but they can continue into adulthood if not properly addressed. The inability to control impulses can lead to significant personal and social consequences, including damaged relationships, legal issues, and financial problems.

Common types of ICDs include:

  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED): Characterized by sudden aggressive outbursts, IED involves episodes of extreme anger and violence that are disproportionate to the situation. These outbursts can include physical aggression, property destruction, and verbal assaults.
  • Kleptomania: This disorder involves compulsive stealing of items that are not needed for personal use or monetary value. The urge to steal is driven by a sense of tension before the act and relief or gratification afterward.
  • Pyromania: Individuals with pyromania have a compulsion to set fires deliberately and repeatedly. This behavior is not motivated by personal gain, political ideology, or anger, but by a fascination with fire and the pleasure derived from setting and witnessing fires.
  • Trichotillomania: Also known as hair-pulling disorder, trichotillomania involves recurrent pulling out of one’s hair, leading to noticeable hair loss and significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.
  • Pathological Gambling: This disorder is characterized by an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite negative consequences. Individuals may continue to gamble in an attempt to win back losses, leading to a cycle of behavior that can ruin finances and relationships.

Symptoms of Impulse Control Disorders

Symptoms of ICDs can vary depending on the specific disorder but often include several common features. Understanding these symptoms is crucial for recognizing and seeking help for ICDs.

  • Inability to resist impulses: Individuals with ICDs act on urges despite being aware of the negative consequences. They may feel an overwhelming need to perform a specific action and find it nearly impossible to resist.
  • Feeling tension before the act: There is often a build-up of stress or arousal before performing the impulsive act. This tension can be both psychological and physical, manifesting as anxiety or physical discomfort.
  • Relief or pleasure during the act: Acting on the impulse usually brings a sense of relief or satisfaction. This temporary feeling of pleasure reinforces the behavior, making it more likely to be repeated.
  • Regret or guilt after the act: After the impulsive behavior, individuals often experience feelings of shame, guilt, or regret. These negative emotions can contribute to a cycle of impulsivity, where the person engages in the behavior again to escape these feelings.

Treatment Programs at Buckeye Recovery Network

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Many people with ICDs also have other mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or substance abuse. Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment program addresses both the ICD and any co-occurring disorders at the same time, ensuring comprehensive care.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Our Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) offer intensive therapy while allowing clients to maintain their daily routines. This includes individual therapy, group therapy, and educational workshops to help clients manage their impulses better.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

The Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) provides a more structured environment than IOP, with clients spending several hours each day at our facility. PHP includes intensive therapy, medical supervision, and holistic treatments, ensuring comprehensive care while allowing clients to return home each evening.

Aftercare Services

Recovery doesn’t end after the initial treatment. Our Aftercare services provide ongoing support, including regular therapy sessions, support groups, and access to resources that help maintain progress and prevent relapse.

Advanced Treatment Options and Exceptional Care

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a key part of our treatment for ICDs. CBT helps clients understand how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected and teaches them how to develop healthier responses to impulses.

Medication Management

In some cases, medication may help manage ICD symptoms. Our medical team carefully monitors each client to ensure medications are effective and adjusted as needed.

Holistic Therapies

We treat the whole person, not just the disorder. Our holistic therapies, like yoga, meditation, and art therapy, help clients develop healthy coping mechanisms and improve overall well-being.

Family Therapy

Family support is crucial for recovery. Our family therapy sessions help loved ones understand ICDs and learn how to support the individual in a healthy way.

Tips and Support Options

Building a Support Network

Creating a strong support network is essential for managing ICDs. This includes family, friends, and support groups who provide encouragement and accountability.

Developing Healthy Habits

Healthy habits, like regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep, help manage stress and reduce impulsive behaviors.

Learning Coping Strategies

Therapy provides tools and strategies to cope with impulses. Techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, and distraction help manage urges in the moment.

Seeking Professional Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with an Impulse Control Disorder, seeking professional help is crucial. At Buckeye Recovery Network, we offer personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual’s needs.

Contact Our Team

Impulse Control Disorders can have a significant impact on a person’s life, but recovery is possible with the right treatment and support. At Buckeye Recovery Network, we provide advanced treatment options and exceptional care to help individuals manage their impulses and lead healthier lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with an ICD, reach out to our team for support. Share this blog to raise awareness about ICDs and contact us to learn more about our comprehensive treatment programs.


Common types of ICDs include Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), Kleptomania, Pyromania, Trichotillomania, and Pathological Gambling.

CBT helps clients understand how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected and teaches them healthier responses to impulses.

Family therapy helps loved ones understand ICDs and learn how to support the individual in a healthy way, fostering a supportive environment for recovery.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment addresses both the Impulse Control Disorder and any co-occurring mental health conditions, leading to more comprehensive and effective treatment.

Our Aftercare services provide ongoing support through regular therapy sessions, support groups, and access to resources that help maintain progress and prevent relapse.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.