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Book Review

Impulse Control Disorders

Marcia Slomowitz, MD, MSc

Published: February 15, 2012

Impulse Control Disorders

edited by Elias Aboujaoude, MD, and Lorrin M. Koran, MD. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 2010, 310 pp, $95.00 (hardcover).

Impulse Control Disorders is a valuable guide to the DSM-IV category of impulse-control disorders not elsewhere classified. The book is divided into 4 sections: Acquisitive Impulses, Pellicular Impulses, Information-Seeking Impulses, and Sexual and Aggressive Impulses. What makes this volume so interesting is the attention placed not just on the disorders themselves, but also on the social, cultural, and legal ramifications specific to each.

For example, in the first section of the book, Acquisitive Impulses, a chapter entitled, "Kleptomania: Clinical Aspects" is followed by the chapter "Kleptomania and the Law." The chapter "Compulsive Buying: Clinical Aspects" is followed by "Compulsive Buying: Cultural Contributors and Consequences." "Pathological Gambling: Clinical Aspects" is followed by 2 related chapters of interest, "Pathological Gambling: Promoting Risk, Provoking Ruin" and "Cash and Casinos: An Indian Perspective."

The Pellicular Impulses section includes trichotillomania (hair pulling) and onychophagia (nail biting), with additional chapters written from the perspective of dermatologists and dentists.

The Information-Seeking Impulses section is particularly welcome. As commented in the chapter "Problematic Internet Use: Clinical Aspects," there are no formal diagnostic criteria for problematic Internet use in either the DSM-IV-TR or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). The authors describe and provide instruments to help with assessment of problematic Internet use, and treatment is also discussed. A subsequent chapter, "Virtual Violence: The Games People Play," addresses the debate regarding the playing of violent video games and subsequent aggression. A concluding chapter in this section, "Counseling in Cyberspace: Your E-Therapist on Call" suggests that the development of computer-based therapy would be helpful to individuals with these and other disorders.

The last section, Sexual and Aggressive Impulses, includes the chapters "Hypersexuality: Clinical Aspects," "The Sex Industry: Public Vice, Hidden Victims," "Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Clinical Aspects," "Violence Against Women: Preventing a Social Scourge," "Pyromania: Clinical Aspects," and "Arson: Choking Off the Flames."

The editors include 2 appendixes, "Treatment Guidelines" and "List of Scales and Assessment Instruments." Also included are pictures of individuals with dermatologic and dental disorders as a consequence of uncontrollable skin picking or nail biting/thumb sucking.

Overall, the book is well written. The editors have created a text on impulse-control disorders that is coherent and thorough. The chapter authors write well and have a thorough grasp on the literature in their areas. This book deserves a place on the bookshelves of psychiatric educators and clinicians working with individuals who have impulse-control disorders.

Marcia Slomowitz, MD, MSc

Author affiliation: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

Potential conflicts of interest: None reported.

Volume: 73

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