About Impulse Control

Impulse control issues are characterized by an inability to resist a temptation, an urge or temptation that could harm you or others and general impulsivity. Impulse control is a component of many other psychiatric disorders including addiction, ADD ADHD, personality disorders and mood disorders.

Calm your impulses

Impulse control can be an issue when a distinct five-stage cycle is identified:

  1. An impulse
  2. Increasing tension in regards to the impulse
  3. Pleasure in acting on the impulse
  4. Release and relief from the urge
  5. Guilt over the loss of control and consequences of acting

Impulse control issues may revolve around very specific behaviors or situations. Some common manifestations of impulse control include:

  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) – recurring aggressive episodes where the level of aggression is disproportionate to the cause of the episode (See Anger Management)
  • Kleptomania – impulsivity centered around stealing simply for the sake of gratification
  • Gambling – recurring episodes of compulsive gambling that may lead to financial and familial ruin
  • Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors – when impulse control centers on how a person treats his own body; nail biting, skin picking and hair pulling are examples of body focused impulsive disorders
  • Substance Abuse – taking drugs or alcohol in increasing amounts and increasing frequency (see Addictions)

Whatever the manifestations of impulse control issues these cycles can be extremely difficult to break, but it is possible.

Treatment and Counseling for Impulse Control Issues

Two types of treatments are recommended for impulse control disorder: psychological and pharmaceutical. Certain drugs have been proven to be largely effective in specific instances for specific disorder manifestations. Counseling provides an extremely effective intervention to breaking these cycles. A therapist that is highly trained in treating impulse control and can help you address your specific issues. Our treatment plans can help you:

  • Identify addictive and impulsive behaviors and cycles
  • Understand the psychological and physiological components of your impulses
  • Repair relationships affected by addiction
  • Create new and healthy patterns
  • Assess and create a comprehensive treatment plan unique to you
  • Identify and treat any co-occurring anxiety or depression

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