What is the difference between impulse-control disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder?


Hi there.

I’m not able to differentiate between **obsessive-compulsive disorder** and **impulse-control disorder**. I need help desperately!

Hopefully someone can explain the difference.

In: 1

Well, first of all, “impulse-control disorders” are an entire class of disorders, while obsessive-compulsive disorder is a single disorder. However, OCD isn’t considered a form of ICD, so I suppose your question still works.

Unsurprisingly, there HAS been some debate about classifying OCD as an ICD, but there are some pretty major differences. For one, ICDs are primarily “addictive behavior” in common parlance, and there is an element of their impulses being fundamentally enjoyable to them (at least at first), while the compulsions in OCD are almost always reported as very negative. The difference between Impulses and Compulsions is pretty important here obviously.

Impulses tend to be things you do with no thinking of the consequences. An impulsive person will make bad decisions repeatedly (Cheating on a partner, buying expensive things you don’t need, yelling or getting violent when you are angry, eating unhealthy stuff) because they seek the instantaneous pleasure of the action without regard for what will happen after.

On the other hand, compulsions are a strong urge to do something that creates intense anxiety that can only be relieved by doing the action. They often take the consequences into account and will attempt to “resist the compulsion” by enduring the anxiety until they change the situation and can perform the action. Unless the consequences aren’t bad, in which case they will just perform the action as their mind demands them to. A compulsive person will perform simple tasks like counting things or washing their hands or checking the locks, or at least feel a need to, more often than a neurotypical person would.

So while OCD does share some traits with disorders that are considered ICD, it has some pretty major differences that have resulted in Psychologists not feeling there is enough evidence to classify OCD as an ICD.

Imuplsive control disorder makes you want to do things you shouldn’t. Things that could hurt you, or cause you problems.

OCD makes you want to do certain particular things in a very specific way, and it’s almost painful not to.

ICD would make you take I’ll thought out risks or do something really embarrassing, OCD will make you own a copy of every version of Risk the boardgame, and stack them in alphabetical order on your shelf

ICD — I’m going to poke that bear I have to see what happens *pokes a bear*

OCD — *turns off the light* this doesn’t feel right *turns it on and off again two more times* ok now it’s really off.

^but like with everything. To put it simply ha