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University of Minnesota Impulse Control Disorders Clinic

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Impulse Control Disorders Clinic Home


About Us

We are a group of doctors and trainees engaged in research in Impulse-Control Disorders (ICD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Impulse Control Disorders are also referred to – at times – as “Behavioral Addictions”. The term 'Behavioral' comes from the fact that patients with ICD, in general, are not addicted to illicit drugs but rather a specific behavior such as gambling, shopping, shoplifting or fire setting. Underlying problem for all ICDd is that patients with an ICD have uncontrolled urges to engage in a behavior that gives them short-term pleasure or excitement. Our research over the years has sought to identify pharmacological means of dampening urges (cravings) that seem to lead to behavioral dyscontrol.

We conduct research to elucidate the pathophysiological links to ICDs and OCD and conduct clinical trials to develop improved treatments for our patients.


We would like to thank Mogenson GJ, Ph.D. for his pioneering and original work on the subject of "Motivation to action" in 1980. Mogenson and his colleagues applied neural system concepts while others were deeply entrenched in the biogenic amine concept. We thank Kalivas PW, Ph.D. and his colleagues for their unparalleled research on motivation that has helped us develop our research. We thank Frank Burton, Ph.D. for his D1 transgenic mouse that has helped us in the development of our concept. We thank Zald D, Ph.D. whose work on the anatomy and function of the orbital frontal cortex has helped us understand how the brain processes salient objects. We thank Carmichael ST, M.D., Ph.D. and Price JL, Ph.D. for their anatomical tracing work that has led, for the first time, to the detailed mapping of the connectivity within and outside of the orbital frontal cortex and contributed toward improved understanding of the function of the structure. We thank Hartman BK, M.D. and Faris PL, Ph.D. for their foresight on the importance of neural system concept, their brilliant research thinking and their support that have influenced our research thinking. We thank Clayton PJ, M.D. for her tireless support for research work and love of knowledge. We thank Hyman SE, M.D. for reading and providing comments for our original concept paper. We thank Tamminga CA, M.D. and Nestler EJ, M.D., Ph.D. for writing an Editorial on the paper written by Grant JE, J.D., M.D. and colleagues. We thank Berridge KC, Ph.D., Schultz W, M.D., Robbins TW, Ph.D. and others whose basic science work was invaluable in our translation to the clinical population. Last but not least we want to thank our patients for helping us understand their symptoms.

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Suck Won Kim

Suck Won Kim, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. Kim attended Catholic University Medical College in Seoul, Korea. Kim came to the U.S. in 1966 to receive internship training at the Western Pennsylvania hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. On the following year Kim moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to embark on his psychiatry residency training at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. In 1970, Kim was invited to work at the Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis as an attending psychiatrist. Kim worked as a clinical psychiatrist for the next 14 years. Kim was a family man with two children. Kim did not know research then. Later, changing events within the county forced Kim to turn to an academic psychiatrist. Not long after, Kim was invited to join the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Kim has been conducting research in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Impulse-Control Disorders since. In 1998, Kim published an original paper. In this paper Kim proposed that behavioral addictions (Impulse-Control Disorders) were regulated by the same neural circuit as the drug addictions and advanced a new hypothesis that opioid antagonists will be effective in the treatment of Impulse-Control Disorders (go to and enter 9590665 in the search area). Three crucial findings have emerged: 1) target of treatment should be urges (craving) in a given patient, rather than a clinical diagnosis such as alcoholism, as has been the case in the past, 2) naltrexone dose should be higher than the dose tested in alcoholism; and, 3) for safety, patients should be restricted from concurrent use of over-the-counter pain medicines. Kim's research in this area has been supported by grants from the National Center for Responsible Gaming and National Institute of Mental Health. Jon Grant, J.D., M.D. in our team, a national and international leader in Impulse-Control Disorder research, was crucial in the preparation and publication of the above data.

Suck Won Kim's Scientific Publications Page

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William G. Nolan

"William G. Nolan is a clinical research coordinator for the Impulse Control Disorders clinic at the University of Minnesota. He graduated from St. Olaf College in 2013, majoring in psychology. Will loves traveling, and he spent almost half of his college life studying abroad (in Tokyo, Japan and Oxford, UK). His interest in psychopathology originated during his time abroad, where he spent time researching and discussing OCD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, GAD, PTSD, and personality disorders with his tutors. Several research projects have fueled Will's interest in the neurophysiology, and he is interested in studying neuroscience further. Will plans to pursue a master's in neuroscience in two years and apply for an MD-PhD program, with a PhD in neuroscience, in several years. Currently, Will researches impulse control disorders with the Department of Psychiatry, mainly focusing on OCD. In his free time, he enjoys cooking and reading.

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University of Chicago

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience

Addictive, Compulsive, and Impulsive Disorders Research Program:

Jon E. Grant

Jon Grant, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago and directs the ACID research lab for at the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago, IL. Dr. Grant completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, a master's degree at the University of Chicago, a law degree from Cornell University, a medical degree from Brown University, and a Masters degree in public health from Harvard University.

Dr. Grant is a board-certified psychiatrist. Dr. Grant has written over 300 peer-reviewed articles and bookchapters on the phenomenology and pharmacological management of substance use disorders and impulse control disorders, particularly pathological gambling, kleptomania, and grooming disorders. He is the author of "Stop Me Because I Can't Stop Myself," a book on impulse control disorders published by McGraw-Hill (2002) (co-authored with Dr. Suck Won Kim), and is the co-editor (along with Marc Potenza) of two books published by the American Psychiatric Association Pathological Gambling: "A Clinical Guide to Treatment" (2004) and "A Textbook of Men's Mental Health." He also lead-authored a book on the treatment of impulse control disorders using evidence-based cognitive behavior therapy (with Brian Odlaug and Chris Donahue). Dr. Grant's research is funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Jon E. Grant's Scientific Publications Page

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Katherine Derbyshire

Katie L. Derbyshire, BS, is the research coordinator at the ACID research program at the University of Chicago. She attended the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Child Psychology. Katie plans on pursuing medical school for psychiatry in the future. While at Minnesota, she was a research assistant for psychiatry and psychology labs which included social psychology, political psychology, cognitive neuropsychology and educational psychology. She currently is working on impulse control disorder and addiction research in the Department of Psychiatry while taking graduate classes through the University of Chicago's Graduate Student At Large program.

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University of Copenhagen

Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Brian L. Odlaug

Brian Odlaug, MPH, is a Visiting Researcher at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Brian’s academic work focuses on translational public health in the areas of substance and behavioral addictions, and obsessive compulsive disorder. He received his Master of Public Health degree from the University of Minnesota and BA from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Brian has authored or co-authored over 120 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the phenomenology, treatment, and characteristics of mental illness and has co-authored a treatment manual and workbook for impulse control disorders in the prestigious ‘Treatments That Work’ book series and an upcoming book on the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders published by Oxford University Press. He is on the Editorial board of Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, functions as a peer-reviewer for over 25 scientific journals, is a grant reviewer for the National Research Foundation of South Africa, and is a member of several patient advocacy groups, including the Trichotillomania Learning Center, the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation, and the International College of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. Brian also co-conducts treatment seminars for clinicians, social-workers, and other healthcare professionals worldwide, including in regions of Scandinavia, Australia and South Africa. Brian’s research is funded by the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Education and the Trichotillomania Learning Center.

Brian L. Odlaug's Scientific Publications Page

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University of Cambridge (UK)

Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Samuel R. Chamberlain

Sam Chamberlain, MB/BChir PhD, is a psychiatric physician based at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge UK and at Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridge UK. Dr. Chamberlain is an expert in neurocognitive testing and collaborates with the ACID group on various clinical trials and resentations.

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University of Cape Town (South Africa)

Ongoing collaboration with the University of Cape Town and government of South Africa to better understand and treat methamphetamine dependence and the connection with HIV/AIDS. We also work closely with their government entities to develop timely and cost-effective treatments for gambling disorder and other impulse control disorders on the rise in South Africa.

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