Impulsive Behavior Effect on Addictive Disorders

Subject: Psychology
Pages: 8
Words: 2040
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: College


Researchers implicate impulsivity as having a key role in chemical dependency disorders and self-report measures suggest the measurability of various components of the impulsive behavior. However, there is little research in understanding multidimensional nature using measures of impulsivity in the laboratory that track changes that occur over time. An individual with substance abuse are the ones with higher impulsivity and there is the negative impact of impulsivity on treatment for substance abuse. Adolescents and children with the highest rates of future substance abuse have increased impulsivity.

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People can be addicted to many sorts of things beginning from alcohol, gambling, drugs, shoplifting to pornography and video games. Addiction is complicated to generalize into a set of characteristics that lead to destructive behaviors. Human beings consist of diverse groups because some of them lose control of alcohol while others can drink recreationally for many nights or weeks without developing dependency.

Different types of drugs are used to fulfill different needs of people. Therefore, it becomes impossible to create a definition of addictive personality in order to cover different varieties of people and their addictions. However, addicts of different types share common traits although this concept is debated highly in psychological and medical circles. Some experts believe that addictive personalities contain psychological traits which are distinct and predispose individuals to addictions. (Saunders, 1984 pp11-15)

Addictive personality factors

Antisocial personality is where people socially alienate themselves and gives more value to nonconformity with beliefs and goals of the society and end up struggling with addiction. There is a feeling of being isolated and when they lack intimacy, they feel encouraged to turn to alcohol or drugs to act as a substitute because they lack personal relationships and feel at ease when they are in social situations. People who have addictive personalities have a low tolerance to distress, poor skills to manage stress, and lack coping skills which make them turn to drugs quickly and other addictions to be able to manage emotions.

Addictive personalities encounter difficulties in planning how to achieve long-term goals because of being focused on short-term goals. They can exhibit impulsive behavior and have a disposition towards seeking sensation and see alcohol or drugs as a way of solving their problems quickly. Compulsive behavior makes people who have addictive personalities struggle to be able to enjoy alcohol, drugs, and pleasurable activities. Instead, all things to them are white or black and take an all-or-nothing approach to their life. They are failure or perfect, utterly powerless or in complete control. They feel compelled most of the time to engage in behaviors that are harmful or feel powerless and have a propensity toward addiction. (Forrest, 1996 pp14-17)

Substituting vices make people with addictive personalities switch to enjoyable activities when they do not get the opportunity to take part in original addiction. This is the reason why those who are alcoholics’ anonymous members begin smoking and the ones who stop smoking always chew gums. This may lead to a tendency towards many vices for example; disappointment and shame or workaholics may decide to take alcohol in order to relax at night.

The person may also feel insecure and fear failing. People who find it difficult to be committed and have fostering trusting relationships or the ones who seek approval from others constantly use addiction to get self-confidence and a sense of belonging.

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People who have depression or anxiety most of the time develop addictions in order to manage painful emotions. Due to their trouble in coping, they turn to pleasurable activities, alcohol, and drugs to be able to avoid real issues. Trauma or abuse in childhood, deprivation, overindulgence, and inconsistencies in parenting are indicators of addictions. People who get treatment for conditions of mental health such as disorder of attention deficit and depression are at high risk of addiction problems.

Tobacco is a dependency drug with a negative effect on the people in treatment and recovery from chemical dependencies. Dependency on tobacco is related closely with other chemical dependencies and it is possible to treat other chemical dependencies together with tobacco in order to improve the outcomes. Impulsive behavior makes decision-making, determining consequences, and problem-solving impossible. It makes people get angry quickly and engage in dangerous risk-taking. (Kosten, 1995 pp23-26)

Childhood abuse

People who are victims of abuse begin abusing alcohol due to various reasons. Substance and alcohol use disorders are used by adults who were abuse at a young age as a coping strategy as they attempt to adapt and ensure they distance themselves from traumas they have experienced which are painful. These victims decide to turn to alcohol to be able to cope with their reactions towards abuse. Alcohol is used for reducing the feeling of loneliness and isolation as self-medication to try and get control over the experience of the victims and improve self-esteem and gain relief from persistent abuse memories.

When alcohol is abused, it forms self-destructive behavior as a result of a lack of self-concept, feeling worthlessness, and self-blame. It provides a psychological and emotional escape from an abusive environment by reducing stress and feeling of disassociation that is used to deal with abuse horror. Adults who experienced abuse when they were in their childhood develop disorders of alcohol use while trying to look for avenues that may help them to cope with experiences that made them suffer. (Cornelius, 2002 pp23-26)

Chemical dependency and suicide

Alcohol is responsible for creating an effect that allows breakthrough of impulses that are self-destructive into actual behavior. Child victimization trauma is associated with suicide that comes as a result of depression, isolation, loneliness, and lack of self-esteem. Alcohol misuse elicits and exacerbates suicide and it is a chronic suicide. Tendency to suicide is able to exhibit itself in two forms in confirmed drunkard and it is important for it to be distinguished.

In one form, the act itself assumes a cool deliberation appearance and has been contemplated for a long period of time, and precaution is required when approaching it to avoid detection and secure its completion. The second form acts without premeditation and has the direct consequence of violent disorder states of intellect and he is not responsible.

Misuse of alcohol increases unplanned suicide attempts in those who have the idea of committing suicide and the use of alcohol is predictive of subsequent suicide attempts. One in every twenty alcoholics who have depression dies due to suicide within two years and suicidal behavior has increased in people who abuse alcohol. Additionally, alcoholics use lethal methods to attempt suicide and they are determined that it is only with a diagnosis of alcohol dependence that suicidal lethality and ideation attempt to commit suicide can be correlated. Although suicidal intent can be present chronically to the child abuse victims, suicidal action is made more likely by misuse of alcohol.

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Environmentally, the microenvironment that exists between alcoholic parents and developing infants is characterized by family violence and harsh physical punishment which is predictive of problems in the future. Additionally, child abuse experience and family alcoholism is a risk factor for major depression and the development of alcoholism. Misuse of alcohol increases suicide risk in individuals who have major depression. Experience of child abuse causes depressive feelings that lead to suicidal impulses. The impulses are acted on by individuals as a result of the development of disorders of alcohol use. History of alcoholism in a family plays an environmental and genetic role in intensifying and heightening suicidal ideation that occurs in adults who were abused when young. (Pursley, 1991 pp33-35)

When a relationship between psychiatric illness and alcohol dependency is given, it is important to diagnose alcohol misuse early. Psychiatric parents need to be screened for disorders of alcohol use as the beginning of risk assessment. Many psychiatric disorders are a result of misuse of alcohol by patients who had childhood abuse that includes social phobia, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, and suicidal attempts.

Additionally, alcohol is a coping mechanism for victims of abuse it and it is important to identify abuse victims when making evaluations and offering treatment to patients who have misused alcohol in order to prevent dependence on alcohol. Patient with early onset of drinking heavily have increased rates of attempts to commit suicide. People who suffer from depression should be helped by focusing on abstinence and thereafter treat the depression. Individuals who get depressed after abstaining for one week have outcomes which are superior with antidepressant treatment than the ones who do not abstain.

Behavior and addictive disorders

Research on mental health continued to concentrate on role played by genes in the mental disorders and effects of interaction of the genes with environmental factors. There were genetic and clinical investigations to get treatment for these disorders. Schizophrenia research was able to examine clinical effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs by comparing them with their predecessors. Genetic studies about depression had its focus on predictors of the outcome of antidepressant outcomes in order to know whether treatment given to depressed mothers can make children develop depressive symptoms.

Antipsychotic medications have been the primary treatment for schizophrenia patients. Unfortunately, traditional drugs have many disagreeable effects in relation to inhibiting neurotransmitter dopamine. This makes many psychiatrists prescribe a typical antipsychotics that can block transmission of dopamine in the brain that are not affected by disorder directly. Research shows no difference between effectiveness of antipsychotics of first and second generation. In their tolerability, drugs of the second generation show lesser discontinuation rate by patients compared with other drugs but it results to unpleasant weight gain. (Saunders, 1984 pp11-15)

Aggression, anger and addiction

Aggression, anger and addiction are all intertwined in various ways. Anger is implicated in relapse according to Alcoholics Anonymous language. For many years, self-help programs warn people who are recovering from addiction to try and avoid becoming lonely, tired, hungry and angry. These emotions are confounding factors where there is existence of another psychiatric disorder together with addictive disorder. For example, the symptoms of bipolar illness, attention deficit disorder and personality disorder is aggressive acting and anger.

Toxicity due to stimulant drugs like cocaine leads to paranoia and violence which is cause of death for people who are addicted to the stimulant drugs. Rage and anger are emotions that help individuals to be able to cope with abuse and chaos in their early life. This makes anger be perceived as coping strategy which is learned and is secondary to experience in early life. (Forrest, 1996 pp18-20)

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High intensity service in centers for acute treatment has psychiatric outcome and better substance. Higher intensity programs provide strategies for abuse of substance by use of psychiatric, rehabilitation, recreational and counseling services. However, not all patients are able to see provider of mental heath. Staff in emergency department deals with patients with acute alcohol use disorders and they need to have skills and knowledge to offer immediate help to need of patients before they see mental health practitioner.

Dysfunctional parenting victims grow up feeling isolated and with negative self concept making them unable to engage in meaningful relationships. Support system helps to develop healthy adult functioning in the victims. Adults who have problem in alcohol dependence or abuse need to look for the abuse they may have suffered as a child in order to tell of the painful experience so that their problems can be dealt with and get a long lasting solution.


Recent developments in understanding psychobiological states help in explaining individual differences in their susceptibility to addiction. It is pointed out that a fruitful approach see human beings as being dependent on themselves and are affected strongly by response expectancies and self-efficacy. Enhancement behaviors, coping skills and state regulating techniques are crucial to chemical dependency liability and social learning. (Klion 1997 pp12-14)


Klion R. (1997): personal construct psychotherapy of addiction: Journal of substance abuse treatment, pp. 12-16.

Cornelius J. (2002): Impact of concurrent alcohol misuse: Blackwell Synergy, pp. 23-26.

Pursley W. (1991): Adolescence, chemical dependency and pathological gambling: Kohlberg, pp. 33-35.

Forrest G. (1996): Chemical dependency and Antisocial personality disorder: Assessment strategies, pp. 14-20.

Saunders L. (1984): addiction and anesthesiology: Anesthesiology, pp. 11-15.

Cornelius J. (2002): The role of psychobiological states in chemical dependency; who becomes addicted? Blackwell Synergy, pp. 14-17.

Kosten T. (1995): complications of chemical abuse and dependency: ncptsd. pp. 23-26.