The Feeling-State Theory of Impulse-Control Disorders and the Impulse-Control Disorder Protocol
AbstractImpulse-control disorders such as pathological gambling, sexual addiction, and compulsive shopping cause enormous suffering in people’s lives. The feeling-state theory of impulse-control disorders postulates that these disorders are created when intense positive feelings become linked with specific behaviors. The effect of this linkage is that, to generate the same feeling, the person compulsively reenacts the behavior related to that original positive-feeling event, even if detrimental to his or her own well-being. This reenactment creates the impulse-control disorder. The therapy described in this article is the Impulse-Control Disorder Protocol (ICDP), which uses a modified form of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to address these fixations. A case study of an individual with pathological gambling illustrates the application of ICDP.