Types Of Impulsive Behavior Disorders

Impulsive behavior disorders are conditions where people have uncontrollable impulses. This cluster of disorders is associated with a continuous pattern of defiant, negative, and rule-breaking behavior patterns. These behavior disorders lead to significant disruption in the lives of the individuals having them along with the people around them. 

Problematic behaviors attached to these behavioral disorders are first recognized during early childhood. While it is normal for kids to grow up increasingly defiant and disruptive in their growing years, a severe and long-lasting period of such behavioral patterns might indicate underlying disorders. 

The prevalence rates of disruptive disorders are from 1-16%. Early diagnosis and timely treatment are the prime factors of healthy recovery. 

Impulsive behavior disorders

To help you understand the signs of impulsive behavior disorders in people, especially children and adolescents, let’s dive deeper into their various types:

1. Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) occurs in about 2-11% of children in the United States. Individuals having this behavioral disorder exhibit a long-standing disobedient and hostile nature. It is often characterized by arguments, emotional outbursts, and rule-violating behavior. The more severe cases of the disorder might also demonstrate signs of violence toward themselves and other people. 

Generally, ODD is diagnosed by a child psychiatrist or a clinical nurse specialist. This is based on interviews and reported incidents as evidence. However, no lab tests or medical examinations are available for diagnosing the condition.

2. Conduct Disorder

Conduct disorder is reported among 2-10% of children and teens in the United States. This behavioral disorder is more common in females. 

Conduct disorder is associated with repetitive patterns of actions that defy age and violate other people’s rights. These actions might involve violence toward animals, property damage, and other activities that might have legal repercussions. 

Many, but not all, individuals with oppositional defiant disorder might eventually meet the conduct disorder criteria. People with conduct disorder are also more likely to have attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), mood disorders, and disorders related to development.

Read more: Is Anxiety Disorder A Mental Illness? Myths And Facts.

3. Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is most prevalent in the latter years of childhood or early teens. The most common symptoms involve getting easily irritated, having explosive emotional outbursts, and showcasing violent behaviors. 

This behavior disorder is chronic in nature and might hamper lives for long periods. However, the severity of symptoms might decrease with the increase in age. The most common and useful treatment is touted to be cognitive behavioral therapy. Additionally, medicinal therapy is also recommended in a few cases.

4. Pyromania

Pyromania is an extremely rare behavior-related disorder where people develop an unhealthy fascination with fire and all things related to it. These individuals know the hazards associated with fire. However, setting things on fire is the only way for them to alleviate their pent-up anxiety and stress. 

Several factors – like sexual abuse, harsh parenting, and physical abuse – have been deemed as risk factors that might lead to the development of Pyromania. 

The prevalence of Pyromania is about 1% in the United States. This impulsive behavior disorder is related to antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse, and conduct disorder.

Read more: Personality Disorder: Definition, Types, and Causes

5. Kleptomania

Kleptomania is a condition associated with the obsession with taking possessions of things belonging to other people. Despite being extremely rare, it is a severe behavioral disorder that can cause emotional distress to the concerned individual and their family members. 

Kleptomania is often used synonymously with shoplifting. However, individuals with kleptomania do not seek to get an advantage from the items they are stealing. Most of the time, they return the stolen items. 

This behavioral disorder is primarily diagnosed in adolescents. However, the age of occurrence can vary from childhood to old age.


These five impulsive behavior disorders are debilitating health conditions that negatively impact people’s lives. However, proper care and treatment can help these individuals manage their symptoms well.

To know more about how and where to look for mental health issues-related help, click here.

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