Disorders of habits and desires

Disorders of habits and drives are disorders characterized by desires to perform some action, which take over consciousness, reason and subjugate the behavior of the sick person. They are perceived by the majority of patients as alien, ridiculous, painful conditions.

Impulsive actions are realized without a struggle of motives and internal resistance. Only in some cases can there be a struggle of motives, which can last from a few seconds to several hours. However, despite attempts to distract from the emerging desire, the internal tension that requires immediate discharge increases in the sick, after which one or another type of attraction is realized. Following realization, short-term relief begins.

The emergence of attraction may be accompanied by a feeling of acute confusion, a disorder of consciousness.

Among the types of attraction, the most common are:

  • kleptomania – the desire for theft, the acquisition of unnecessary things. Typically, patients steal items that they do not need for personal use or whose material value is not important to them. For sick people, a feeling of tension immediately before committing a theft, a feeling of relief or satisfaction in the aftermath;
  • pyromania – the desire for arson. Patients repeat arson attacks without obvious motives such as money, revenge, or political extremism. Usually, patients show an increased interest in the type of fire. Before the arson, tension builds up, and after it, powerful excitement arises;
  • pathological gambling – constant participation in gambling, which continues and often deepens, despite the social consequences, such as impoverishment, disruption of intra-family relationships and the complete destruction of personal life;
  • Trichotillomania is an irresistible urge to pull out one’s hair. Most often, this disorder occurs in females in childhood and adolescence. It’s not often that trichotillomania is combined with other forms of hair manipulation, from twirling and twisting one’s own hair around a finger, craving for any hair and anything fluffy, to eating hair (trichophagia). In the latter case, surgical intervention is sometimes required.

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