What is Impulse Control? | Precision Recovery
October 15, 2023

What is Impulse Control? | Precision Recovery

Impulse control is essential for people to stay in control. Without it, an individual can experience various personal and societal problems because their impulses aren't being kept in check.

Impulse Control is a person’s ability to manage their need for immediate gratification or committing certain actions. There are a variety of behaviors that arise as a result of poor or a lack of control, called Impulse Control Disorder, leading to problems that affect a person’s life personally, socially, professionally, and the lives of people around them.

Behaviors Under Impulse Control

When there are issues in a person’s ability to manage their desires, one or more types of behaviors may manifest. These are very difficult to control, with most symptoms appearing as early as adolescence or during adulthood. However, there are many ways to cope and there are specific treatments to help those afflicted. The causes of poor or lacking impulse control range from neurological imbalances and preexisting mental illnesses in the family to substance abuse or emotional trauma. There are three main types of behaviors that are managed by strong or proper impulse control: Impulsive Behavior, Compulsive Behavior, and Addictive Behavior. 

Impulsive Behavior

Impulsive Behavior, or impulsivity, is the likelihood of doing something without considering the consequences. Examples of impulsivity include bingeing, interrupting other people’s conversations, kleptomania, and pyromania.

Compulsive Behavior

Compulsive Behavior is the doing of a persistent or repetitive action that is usually small, limited and is at times done to reduce feelings of anxiety. Well-known examples are picking of skin, biting nails, and hoarding.

Addictive Behavior

Addictive Behavior is the compulsive taking of substances for no other reason than attaining instant self-gratification despite the possible physical and social consequences. This includes addictive gambling and drug abuse.

Impulse Control and Addiction

Addiction begins when a craving becomes too strong to ignore. It starts with 'just this once', then it develops into a 'taste'. This taste will slowly turn into a craving or dependency, later becoming a total loss of control over the use or consumption. It ultimately becomes something that cannot be lived without. Strong impulse control can help stave off the initial desires and, if resistance still remains strong, can prevent addiction from developing.

However, the moment the impulse to take a drug or substance transforms into an addiction, the brain has already been so chemically altered to the point where impulse control is close to impossible. Alternatively, addiction has occurred because the person affected has very weak impulse control due to a behavioral disorder such as impulsive and compulsive behaviors. A person may take a variety of substances to make themselves feel better, but it will slowly develop into an addiction as their brains develop a reliance on it.

It's Never Too Late to Recover

If you feel like you are going down the road of addiction or you want to pull yourself out of it, we can help you get treatment. It's never too late to reover, especially when you really want to. Contact us today to start your journey to recovery.

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