J Psychopharmacol. 2000;14(2 Suppl 1):S39-44. doi: 10.1177/02698811000142S106.


Disorders characterized by impulsivity include disorders of impulse control (intermittent explosive disorder, pyromania, kleptomania, pathological gambling and trichotillomania), paraphilias, sexual impulsions and sexual addictions and impulsive aggression personality disorders (borderline, antisocial, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders). Impulsivity has a substantial impact on both individuals and society. Impulse control disorders may be conceptualized as a subset of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum. In this article, we examine the genetic and neurobiological aetiology of these disorders and possible treatment options. The link between serotonergic dysfunction and the pathophysiology of impulsivity is discussed, and studies that examine the efficacy of various selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other alternatives in the treatment of impulsive disorders such as pathological gambling, sexual addictions and borderline personality disorder are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / drug therapy
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / psychology
  • Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders / therapy
  • Gambling / psychology
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / drug therapy
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Impulsive Behavior / therapy*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / drug therapy
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / therapy


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors