Mental Health Monday–Impulse Control AND Contest Winner for Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

Drum roll please! The contest winner (generated by for Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students by Christine Fonseca is:


Please send your address to my e-mail ( I’ll forward it to Christine and she’ll send you signed copy of Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students!



The DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) defines a subset of disorders called Impulse Control Disorders. Little is known about the specific biologic basis of these disorders, but they are considered part of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder spectrum, a subset of Anxiety Disorders.

They include:

  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder (sudden, minimally provoked episodes of rage, anger, verbal outbursts, physical violence, and/or destruction of property)
  • Kleptomania (stealing, not necessarily shoplifting, though)
  • Pathological Gambling
  • Pyromania (fire-starting), and
  • Body-focused repetitive or compulsive behaviors such as trichotillomania (a compulsion to pull one’s hair out), onychophagia (biting nails), and dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking).

The individual is unable to control their impulses and as a result, they can face significant disruption in their functioning and quality of life because they act way before they take the time to consider options or consequences. In many cases, the individual can feel regret for their behavior, but before hand, it’s almost like they can’t stop themselves.

Various treatments include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, medication management (with SNRI’s or SSRI’s/anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medications, even anti-psychotic medications in some cases). The success of therapy and meds is largely dependent on when symptoms started, how severe they are, and how long the person went before seeking treatment. Symptoms often fluctuate with the amount of perceived stress.

So, have any of your characters developed or displayed any of these impulsive behaviors? How did it get expressed?

Remember, this post is for writing purposes only and is NOT meant to be construed as medical treatment or advice.

Check out Lydia’s post for Medical Mondays!


13 comments on “Mental Health Monday–Impulse Control AND Contest Winner for Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students

  1. Misha says:

    Congrats Benoit!

    I’ve actually never written in any of the above, although it might be something interesting to play with in other books.

    My current characters have enough to worry about. ;-P

  2. Stress can drive people to distraction. Literally. Imagine creating a character so afflicted as to manifest these symptoms. A very skilled writer would struggle to create a story around it that would seem genuine, yet there are people suffering with these disorders. Thank you for sharing this information.

  3. Christine Fonseca says:

    Congrats Benoit and great post Laura

  4. Congrats Benoit!

    I hadn’t realized that temper tantrums were considered a disorder, but in an adult it makes sense.

    Interesting post! Yay, more syndromes for my characters. I don’t think I can deal with the hair pulling, though. Ick!

  5. Congrats Benoit!

    What a great resource for creating dynamic characters. Thanks for the post.

  6. Paul Greci says:

    Many of my former students had as part of their diagnosis intermittent explosive disorder. Many had dual diagnosis. So, this brings back memories! Thank you!

  7. Lydia Kang says:

    Oh that picture of the hair is so sad. These disorders are awful and fascinating at the same time. Thanks Laura! I love your posts!

  8. Lynn Rush says:

    Ohhh…what a great Mental Health Monday.

    I just finished writing a character with panic attacks and agoraphobia stuff going on. . . total rough draft, need to delve more into the research…but your mental health Mondays are awesome for that, too. Points me in the right direction.


    Happy Monday!!

  9. elisajeglin says:

    I’ve actually considered writing a story about a woman who compusively picks at her skin. Mainly her face. I thought about making people who do not know her assume she is an attacked, or just has bad skin, never realizing it’s really a manifesation of her struggles with herself. I’ve been toying with the idea since the beginning of the year, but I haven’t had time to start it since I’ve been occupied with other projects.

  10. Congrats, Beniot! And what an informative post. I’m glad I don’t have OCD.


  11. Congratulations to Benoit!

  12. Congrats to Benoit. 🙂

    Wow, fascinating post!

  13. Pendragon says:

    Wow. Sweet blog. I’ve totally subscribed. My hubby is in psych now via medical school, so the monday-posts will be fun to read with him 🙂

    and i meant every word about your writing. i’m still thinking about it even hours later! (shiver)

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