The authors want to examine the prevalence of all impulse control disorders (ICD) among patients
examined in a French psychiatric emergency ward and to compare patients with and without ICD.
210 consecutive patients examined in a psychiatric emergency ward were included. We used the Minnesota Impulsive
Disorders Interview, a semi-structured clinical interview assessing impulse control disorders (ICD): compulsive
buying, trichotillomania, compulsive sexual behavior, kleptomania, pyromania and intermittent explosive disorder. We
assessed the DSM-IV-TR criteria for personality disorders and we used the Zuckerman scale to study the level of sensation-
seeking. All patients answered in addition the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS) for pathological gambling, the
Lejoyeux scale of compulsive buying, the DETA questionnaire for alcohol use disorders and the Fagerström questionnaire
for nicotine consumption.
Fifty-four patients (25%) showed signs of at least one ICD. Fifteen patients (7%) reported current symptoms of
two impulse control disorders. The most common impulse control disorders were compulsive buying (N=41, 19.5%),
pathological gambling (N=13, 6.2%) and intermittent explosive disorder (N=11, 5.2%). Psychiatric comorbidity was not
different between patients from the ICD+ and the ICD– groups. Alcohol, nicotine and cannabis consumption were equivalent
in the ICD+ and ICD- groups.
Patients with co-occurring impulse control disorders were younger. They had a higher score of pathological gambling assessed
with the SOGS and a higher level of sensation seeking. Sub-scores of disinhibition, experience seeking and boredom
susceptibility were also significantly higher.
An important proportion of patients (25%) examined in a French psychiatric emergency service shows at
least one diagnosis of impulse control disorder. Emergency ward may give them an opportunity for identifying ICD and
offering information and treatment. Additional research could try to validate effective treatment for psychiatric patients
with impulse control disorder.