Everyone has an occasional moment of impulsivity. We may purchase something because it catches our attention or eat that last cookie in the bottom of the jar because we just need one more. Being impulsive becomes a problem, however, when it becomes a pattern. Edward F. Hudspeth, an associate dean of counseling at Southern New Hampshire University, explains to Counseling Today that “some impulsivity is just a normal part of growing up [and] learning from situations.” However, when continued consequences and pressures from society no longer impact an individual’s impulsive behavior, it becomes an issue. “Basically, you’re saying that everyone around you and even consequences are of no value to change [your] behavior. It’s just, ‘I’m going to be impulsive,’ and nothing seems to stop this,” Hudspeth says. This disconnection leads to consequences for the impulsive person.
Has my impulsiveness gone too far?
Laura Galinis, a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Georgia, tells Counseling Today she has questions that she poses to counselors to determine whether or not an individual’s impulsivity has gone too far:
- Has the client been unsuccessful in attempts to fix the impulsive behavior?
- What consequences is the client facing because of impulse-control issues?
- Is the client’s impulsive behavior causing problems in relationships, with finances, or with work?
- Does the client’s impulsivity stem from not setting parameters, or is the client disassociated and being prompted to engage in behaviors he or she may not want to do?
- Is there a pattern with the client’s impulsivity? Does it show up in just one relationship or across the board?
When impulsivity turns to shame
Hudspeth continues to explain that impulse control “is one of those disorders that could be considered to be both internal and external.” This is because although you are not stopping your impulsive behaviors (internal struggle), you are also affecting others (external struggle). “The origins are internal, but how it displays and who it affects is the individual and everybody around them,” he says. This impulsivity may lead the individual to regret their decisions because they were not thinking when they were acting. This regret can lead to shame, which ultimately may cause the individual to hide their impulsive behaviors. This lack of control then becomes unhealthy.
If you are struggling with making good decisions and you find yourself acting impulsively, reach out to Pinnacle Recovery today. We want to help you learn to make better decisions. Call our trained and experienced staff today at 1-866-301-0573 to learn more about the programs we have to offer. We can’t wait to hear from you.