Impulse Control Issues
Impulse control issues can be serious. If left untreated, impulse control issues can ruin lives and lead to losing jobs, broken relationships, and financial instability. These issues can cost people their homes, lifetime savings, and overall health.
Impulsive control behaviors can often be symptoms of other severe mental health disorders like bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and may be treated with intensive behavioral therapy.
A few impulse control disorders, problems, and behaviors include but are not limited to:
- Intermittent explosive disorder
- Pathological gambling
- Addiction to pornography
- Overspending and hoarding
The Basics of Impulse Control Issues
Often mistaken for mania in people who have bipolar disorder, impulse control issues are different in that the people who experience them can’t control compulsions or temptations even if they are harmful to others. While impulse control issues often have a genetic factor tied to them, they may be diagnosed alone as a mental disorder or comorbid with another mental health condition like conduct disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and intermittent explosive disorder.
Impulsive Behaviors as Symptoms
In many cases, the primary mental health condition causing impulsive behaviors is not an impulse control disorder. Instead, the main issue could be a larger psychological problem triggering the impulse control issues. In this case, other therapies or a combination of treatment options might be considered. Often associated with personality disorders, it’s essential to know that what begins as one diagnosis could change to another as treatment goes on.
It might mean the combination of CBT therapy with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) group program for clients who suffer from both a personality disorder and impulse control issues. Depending on how a client’s symptoms connect to their multiple diagnoses, a treatment plan that captures all of their mental health concerns may be necessary.
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CBT Treatment for Impulse Control Issues
Impulsive behaviors are often highly treatable with cognitive behavior therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and attitudes impact behaviors, and trained therapists can use behavioral tools to help sufferers learn to identify triggers to their impulsive behaviors. This treatment is a highly structured type of therapy aimed at producing long-term results.
Licensed CBT therapists work with clients to break down thoughts, patterns, and actions. In doing so, they help clients understand their cycles of behaviors in order to find ways to disrupt these behaviors before acting on impulses. A person struggling with an eating disorder like bulimia, for example, would be given tools to understand the cognitive process that goes on between binging and purging. Deep breaths might be substituted for either behavior, helping to form new and healthier habits.
Positive Outcomes of Treatment
Getting help for a behavioral impulse control disorder has many benefits, including repaired relationships, better credit, the ability to maintain employment, and the capacity to trust yourself again. People who go through impulse control disorder treatment alone or in conjunction with family therapy and group therapy often come out more satisfied for it. Able to forgive themselves and with the tools they need to make sure they can keep their compulsions under control, former sufferers of impulse control issues have fewer issues in relationships, jobs, and even with substance abuse.
Successful treatment can mean the following results:
- Better social skills
- Coping tools
- A healthier lifestyle
- Less risky behaviors
- A longer lifespan
- The ability to handle substance abuse issues successfully
- Lifelong tools for relaxation
- Repaired relationships
- Better career and income opportunities
If you believe you need help with impulse control issues or need more information of a general nature on impulsive behaviors, seek professional help. To locate a therapist who specializes in this problem, WithTherapy can point you in the right direction. With licensed professionals who specialize in behavioral disorders and impulse control, WithTherapy will be a great resource in helping you locate the right person with the proper diagnostic tools to help.