The American Psychiatric Association (APA) rearranged and regrouped a variety of mental health conditions in its most recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In previous versions, impulse control disorders were included in a separate category, but in the DSM-5, the APA combined these conditions with disorders that have similar symptoms to create a new group.

The new classification called disruptive, impulse-control and conduct disorders contain five conditions that produce behavioral changes that harm people and put them at risk for conflict with others. Facts and statistics regarding impulse-control disorders shed light on the changing views of these conditions.

Prevalence of Impulse-Control Disorders

People may not realize how common impulse control disorders are in children and adults, but this group of conditions affects many every year. Disruptive, impulse-control and conduct disorders include oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, kleptomania and pyromania.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

With symptoms including irritable moods, defiant behaviors and vindictiveness, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) affects adults as well as children. About 6% of children have ODD, but the oppositional defiant disorder statistics are complex to measure among all people.

The range of ODD may be anywhere between 1% and 11% with an average of about 3.3% of all people in the U.S. having the condition, according to the DSM-5. During childhood, males are more likely to have ODD, but through adolescence and adulthood, the rates among males and females even out.

Conduct Disorder

People with conduct disorder show a more dangerous set of behaviors compared to people with ODD. This condition affects about 6% of children in the United States as well. The APA states that each year, about 4% of the U.S. population has conduct disorder with adolescents more likely than children to display symptoms. Conduct disorder prevalence studies show this rate is consistent across race and ethnicity, but males are more likely to have conduct disorder than females.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent explosive disorder is marked by sudden aggression towards people, property or animals. The intermittent explosive disorder statistics suggest a prevalence rate of about 2.7% among children and adults.

This condition is more common in people under 40 years of age with symptoms likely peaking during late adolescence and early adulthood. Intermittent explosive disorder is more common in people with only a high school education or less according to the APA.

Kleptomania

Kleptomania, a condition involving the impulsive urge to steal items, is less common than the other disorders in this group. Only about 1% of the population or less will ever have symptoms meeting criteria for kleptomania.

Kleptomania occurs in up to 24% of people arrested for shoplifting. According to kleptomania statistics in America presented in the DSM-5, females with the condition outnumber men 3-to-1.

Pyromania

Like kleptomania, pyromania is a rare type of disruptive, impulse-control and conduct disorder. The condition affects around 1% of Americans, but the condition is uncommon in people under age 18.

Pyromania statistics compiled by the APA indicate that even when sampling people who encounter the legal system for starting fires, only 3.3% had pyromania. In other cases, separate mental health disorders cause behaviors.

Impulse Control Disorder and Co-Occurring Conditions

Disruptive, impulse-control and conduct disorders frequently co-occur with a number of other mental health conditions. To begin, many people with an impulse-control disorder likely have another impulse-control disorder.

A person may have ODD and kleptomania or conduct disorder and intermittent explosive disorder. Impulse-control disorders and substance use disorders are also commonly found together.

According to the DSM-5, impulse-control disorders commonly co-occur with:

  • Gambling disorder
  • Mood disorders like depression and bipolar
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is linked to impulse-control disorders, especially ODD, conduct disorder and intermittent explosive disorder.

There is also a connection between impulse-control disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It appears that people related to someone with kleptomania are more likely to have OCD than the general population.

Statistics on Impulse Control Disorder Treatment and Recovery

Impulse-control disorders are challenging for family and treatment professionals to address. Some barriers to successful impulse-control disorder treatment are the willingness of the individual to identify problems with their behavior and the motivation to seek professional services. Less than 30% of people with intermittent explosive disorder ever receive treatment. Rates of treatment are also low for children with conduct disorder.

Recovery from impulse control disorder is possible with collaboration between the client, family and professional staff. Therapy that focuses on the thoughts, feelings and behaviors contributing to the disorder will help reduce symptoms, and even though no drugs exist specifically for impulse-control disorders, medication may help address co-occurring issues.

If you are interested in finding treatment for yourself or a loved one with an impulse-control disorder and a co-occurring substance use disorder, call The Recovery Village. The expert staff at The Recovery Village can accurately assess and treat your condition to minimize symptoms and begin a period of recovery.

    

American Psychiatric Association. “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition.” 2013.

Health Research Funding. “21 Interesting Impulse Control Disorder Statistics.” Accessed May 7, 2019.

Parekh, Ranna. “What are Disruptive, Impulse Control and Conduct Disorders?” American Psychiatric Association, January 2018. Accessed May 7, 2019.

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