One of the primary causes of teen substance abuse is a class of common conditions known as impulse control disorders. Disorders of this nature involve an individual who has difficulty resisting the urge to engage in certain behavior and actions. These behaviors and actions are ultimately harmful and self-destructive. Impulsive behavior can also involve positive actions, such as those relating to healthy lifestyle choices or any behavior that has a positive result. However, when a teen with an impulse control disorder consistently engages in negative behaviors and actions, professional attention is required.
Many psychological disorders include impulsive tendencies for a wide variety of behaviors, including sexual activity, stealing, gambling, lying, violence, eating disorders, physical abuse to oneself, vandalism and arson, Internet and video game addiction, and more. In short, any behavior that involves the inability to resist actions that are ultimately harmful to the individual or others can be classed as an impulse control disorder. Substance abuse, whether it involves drugs or alcohol, is one of the most common problems.
Causes of Impulse Control Disorders
The fact is, scientists don’t know exactly what causes an individual to engage in destructive behavior impulsively. But there is a general consensus among researchers that many factors, interacting together, can cause these problems. These factors can be both environmental and physical, cultural and societal, or biological and emotional. Certain parts of the brain play a role. For example, the limbic system, which controls functions of memory and emotion, and the frontal lobe, which is associated with the process of planning and impulse control. If there is a chemical imbalance in these parts of the brain or physical damage, it can lead to impulsive behavior.
Also, professionals identified hormones as having a significant effect on certain behaviors. For instance, testosterone, more prevalent in men, has been cited as a cause of increased aggressiveness and violent tendencies. These hormones alter the way individuals experience their emotions and react in the world.
Impulse Control Disorders and Substance Abuse
All of these things contribute to substance abuse. A person whose impulse control disorder manifests itself as an irresistible desire to use drugs or alcohol will engage in this behavior despite the obvious damage it causes, to themselves and those around them, even though their logic and reason tell them not to. They find it impossible to resist the urge to use the substance, often justifying the abuse in ridiculous ways. They know while they’re doing it that they’re just kidding themselves.
That’s when it’s critical to seek professional help. There are proven treatments that can help control impulsive behavior, both pharmacological and psychosocial. Destinations for Teens not only takes teen substance abuse treatment seriously, but we prioritize teen mental health treatment as well. We see how the two connect. Because we understand how equally important physical health and mental health are, our experienced and compassionate counselors and therapists set up teens to succeed. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy can be used as a form of aversive therapy, systematic desensitization, and impulse control. Thus, it is effective in relapse prevention. Making a lasting recovery involves treating both one’s impulse control issues as well as substance use disorder.
Professional Guidance at Destinations for Teens
It’s important to seek the advice and counsel of mental health professionals when suffering from an impulse control disorder. Fortunately, the expert counselors and therapists at Destinations for Teens have extensive experience in dealing with disorders of all types. Our focus is on helping teens and adolescents find healing. Get in touch with our professional staff to find out the best options for successful treatment. Some of our therapeutic services include: