One of the primary causes of substance abuse is a class of common conditions known to the mental health community as Impulse Control Disorders. Disorders of this type simply mean an individual has difficulty resisting the urge to engage in behavior and actions that 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, but it’s the negative ones that cause problems and require professional attention.
There are many psychological disorders that 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 probably the most common problem.
Causes of Impulse Control Disorders
The fact is, scientists don’t know exactly what causes an individual to engage in destructive behavior in an impulsive manner. But there is a general agreement among researchers that many factors, interacting together, can cause these problems, factors both environmental and physical, cultural and societal, biological and emotional. Certain parts of the brain are believed to play a role, such as the limbic system, which controls functions of memory and emotion, and the frontal lobe, 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.
Hormones have also been identified 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 in males.
Impulse Control Disorders and Substance Abuse
All of these things have been shown to 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 to those around them, even though their logic and reason tells them not to. They find it impossible to resist the urge to partake of the substance, often justifying the abuse in the most obviously 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. Cognitive behavioral therapy, in the form of aversive therapy, systematic desensitization, and impulse control have been shown to be effective, as well as training in relapse prevention.
Professional Guidance is Essential
It’s important to seek the advice and counsel of mental health professionals when an individual is suffering with an Impulse Control Disorder of any kind. Destinations to Recovery has extensive experience in dealing with disorders of all types, and specializes in helping teens and adolescents find healing. Get in touch with their professional staff to find out the best options for successful treatment.
To learn more about control disorder and addiction and how we can help, give us a call at 877-466-0620.