In this month’s first blog, we presented an overview of impulse control disorders, along with some common types such as intermittent explosive disorder. Let’s get into more details.
Combining impulse control disorders and substance use disorders
Patients with impulse control disorders frequently also have substance use disorders. Studies have shown these trends:
- From 35% to 48% or people with intermittent explosive disorders also have substance use disorders.
- About 33% of people with pyromania also have substance use disorders.
- From 22% to 50% of people with kleptomania also have substance use disorders.
These two disorders share similar features. For example, both impulse control and substance use disorders are characterized by compulsion and a lack of control — over a behavior or use of a substance, respectively. People with either disorder also experience a craving to use the substance or carry out the behavior, and both disorders are believed to involve the dopaminergic “reward system” of the brain.
Since impulse control disorders often also involve substance use disorders, integrated treatment for both disorders is considered superior. These are some treatment approaches for impulse control disorders coupled with drug or alcohol addiction:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy — This helps patients learn to understand and then modify detrimental thought patterns and behaviors.
- Dialectical behavior therapy — This therapy helps patients control their self-harm behaviors, such as suicide attempt, thought, or urges, along with drug use.
- Contingency management — This approach rewards the patient’s engagement in healthy behaviors or being able to avoid unhealthy behaviors such as drug use.
- Family involvement — We engage the entire family of our adolescent young men, particularly the parents. This enables the parents to learn how to understand and respond to their child’s behaviors in a positive manner.
There are not any medications approved specifically to help treat impulse control disorders, but research has shown some promise. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been shown to reduce aggression and irritability in people battling intermittent explosive disorder. Naltrexone has shown some success in treating kleptomania, as well as addiction. Mood stabilizers and glutamatergic agents are also being researched.
Do you have a possible teenage boy who is exhibiting any signs of impulse control disorders? Call us at Monuments, (800) 559-1980. We can help.