Do you or someone you know frequently act impulsively without considering the consequences of the behavior? If so you or that someone can have impulse control disorder. To help understand the symptoms of impulse control disorder and what type of help is available, I have interviewed Dr. Anita Gadhia-Smith.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a psychotherapist in private practice in Washington, D.C., specializing in relationship issues, alcoholism and addictions treatment, in individual, couple, and family modalities. I am also the author of the best-selling book entitled “From Addiction to Recovery.” I speak locally and internationally on television, radio, and film.”
What is impulse control disorder?
“Impulse control disorder occurs when individuals cannot control impulsive behavior. They act out impulsively in response to their feelings and lack the capacity to delay gratification. They may have intentions to act responsibly in their own best interest, but are unable to do so when the opportunity arises due to an uncontrollable need to gratify their immediate wishes. Often, these behaviors are self-destructive. Although they know they are self-sabotaging, they are unable to stop themselves. It is as though something takes over their being that is more powerful than they are. Feelings supercede reason.”
What are the signs and symptoms of impulse control disorder?
“Impulse control disorder is manifested by socially inappropriate behavior and an inability to conform to societal and/or legal norms. For example, a person may have a shoplifting addiction. Often, this behavior manifests as a result of an inability to manage feeling states. The person may go into a store for one thing, with intentions of paying for items, but is subsequently be unable to stop himself from stealing something, which he does not even want or need. The impulse to act out takes over in the moment, and he steals even though he did not plan to.”
What type of impact does impulse control disorder have on a person’s life?
“A person with impulse control disorder may manifest legal, health, or relational difficulties. He or she may be overweight, incarcerated or have a chronic pattern of failed relationships. For example, a person may be unable to stop himself from overeating. Although he wants to be a normal eater, he cannot refrain from eating even after he is full. Over time, this can result in weight issues and serious health consequences. Another example could be when a person has an impulsive urge to act out sexually with persons other than his partner. This can lead to a pattern of failed relationships, low self-esteem, and self-loathing. Those feelings can, in turn, lead to other self-destructive behaviors used to medicate feelings that can result in even greater difficulties.”
What type of help is available for someone who has impulse control disorder?
“If a person suffers from impulse control disorder, help is available through cognitive-behavioral individual psychotherapy, and self-help programs. In individual psychotherapy, treatment is focused on each person’s specific issues, underlying thought patterns, and resulting behaviors. These can be modified over time. In-group settings, such as 12-step programs, individuals can identify with others; shame and isolation are greatly reduced. The combination of both modalities is highly effective.”
Thank you Dr. Smith for doing the interview on impulse control. For more information on Dr. Anita Gadhia-Smith or her work you can check out her website on fromaddictiontorecovery.com.
How to Cope with Your Spouse’s Drug Addiction
How to Overcome Food Addiction
How to Overcome Cyberporn Addiction