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What are Disruptive, Impulse-Control and Conduct Disorders?

Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders represent a group of psychiatric conditions characterized by persistent patterns of behavior that violate societal norms and the rights of others, and/or bring significant impairment to the individual's or others' functioning. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, these disorders share some common features, such as difficulties in emotional and behavioral self-control.

Here are some of the disorders categorized under Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders:

1. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): Characterized by a frequent and persistent pattern of anger/irritability, argumentativeness/defiance, or vindictiveness toward authority figures.

2. Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Involves repeated sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts, in which the individual reacts grossly out of proportion to the situation.

3. Conduct Disorder: A more severe form of behavior disorder than ODD, marked by behavior that violates the rights of others, such as aggression toward people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violations of rules.

4. Pyromania: A rare disorder involving deliberate and purposeful fire setting on more than one occasion.

5. Kleptomania: Also rare, characterized by a recurrent urge to steal items not needed for personal use or monetary value.

This behavior causes significant problems at school, work, or in social interactions.

The DSM-5 criteria for these disorders generally require that the behaviors cause significant distress in social, academic, or occupational functioning and are not better explained by another mental disorder. These behaviors often manifest in childhood or adolescence and, if left untreated, can persist into adulthood.

Treatment typically involves a combination of psychotherapy, family therapy, and, in some cases, medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used to help individuals learn new ways of controlling their impulses and to better understand the effects of their behavior on others. Parent training and school-based interventions are also key components of treatment, particularly for children and adolescents.

Frequently Asked Questions


What types of services do you provide?

We provide two main services: psychopharmacology evaluations and medication management. First, you’ll meet with a provider for an evaluation to determine your treatment plan, which may include medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, or other recommendations. Second, if medication is appropriate, our providers will help you manage and adjust your medication to make sure it works effectively.

What is the difference between therapy and medication management?

Therapy, sometimes called “talk therapy,” involves talking with a mental health professional to address mental health issues through dialogue and behavioral strategies. Medication management, on the other hand, is a medical approach where a mental health professional prescribes, monitors, and adjusts psychiatric medication to treat mental health conditions to address your physiological symptoms. Often, a combination of talk therapy and medication management is beneficial.

Does this replace my need for a therapist?

Our providers are here to address your concerns and offer support, but it’s important to note that they are not meant to replace a licensed therapist. Evidence suggests that for many mental health conditions, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the most effective approach.

How does online psychiatry work?

Virtual psychiatry works just like in-person psychiatry, except instead of sitting in a doctor’s office, you’ll talk to your provider during live video appointments.

What should I expect during a mental health assessment or evaluation?

You’ll connect 1:1 with your new provider to discuss your needs. If appropriate, they’ll prescribe medication and send it to your pharmacy of choice. Regular check-ins will help you track how you’re feeling and any side effects, and your provider will make any needed adjustments.

How do I prepare for my first appointment? How long are typical appointments?

Before your scheduled appointment, you’ll receive new patient forms, which you’ll need to complete in advance. We will also ask for your insurance information, a valid form of identification, a list of any of your current medications, and any relevant medical records or previous psychiatric evaluations.

Typical appointment times vary depending on the nature of your visit and your treatment plan. Initial consultations usually last around 60 minutes, during which you'll have an in-depth discussion with your provider. Follow-up appointments are typically shorter, ranging from 15 to 30 minutes, but this may be adjusted based on your specific needs and progress.

What should I do in case of an emergency or crisis?

If you’re having a medical or mental health emergency, call 911.

Call or text 833-773-2445 for 24/7 Crisis and Mental Health Support from the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line.

How do I schedule an appointment?

To schedule an appointment, please fill out our Appointment Request Form. Someone from the Monomoy Health team will contact you for more information and to help schedule your first appointment. We look forward to working with you!

Do you offer virtual/online appointments?

Yes, we offer virtual appointments. That means you can meet with your provider from the comfort of your home. We recommend choosing a well-lit and quiet space for your meeting.

Are my appointments and information confidential?

Yes. We adhere to the highest standards of privacy and confidentiality to ensure that your personal and medical information is safe, and privacy is a top priority in our practice. For more information, please download our HIPAA policy.