Is Impulsive Behavior a Cause for Addictive Disorders?

Subject: Psychology
Pages: 7
Words: 1870
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: Bachelor


There is a close relation between impulsivity and substance abuse as impulsivity is referred to as a predisposition towards rapid, unintentional reactions to external or internal stimuli without considering any bad impacts upon themselves or others. The impulsive behavior has been a serious concern for the researchers and the clinicians who have been finding out the facts why the individuals are addicted to using different substances impulsively.

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According to the previous studies and researches, the compulsive features of the substance are related to craving but now the impulsive factors also are involving to enhance the addictive disorders. It is the old concept that impulsivity is associated with substance abuse. With the neurological research, the medical researchers have given importance to the craving or compulsive aspects of substance abuse which is opposed to impulsive behavior (Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment, 2002).

Impulsive behavior has great attention and interest for me and I want to study deeply on the basis of biological, psychological, and social viewpoints and researches. It is essential for us to know why individuals have impulsive reactions towards specific substances and become addictive without knowing the actual facts of harmful influences upon them.

Present Your Problem Statement or Research Question

My studies have arisen the questions which guide me to probe deeply to know if impulsive behavior is a cause for addictive disorders? Is genetic predisposition is the main cause of susceptibility and dependability to psychoactive substances which are determined by genes or inherited traits rather than social upbringing? Is substance abuse or drug/alcohol addiction is inherited disorder or impulsive reaction?

Literature Review

According to the researchers, people are suffering from addictive disorders by using multiple kinds of substances like alcohol or illegal drugs. Some people are addicted to taking alcohol in larger amounts and unable to decrease their desirability of alcoholic consumption without regarding the bad influences of alcoholic use on physical or psychological health. Drug, gambling, sex, and pornography are also considered the elementary factors to boost up impulsive behavior which ultimately causes addictive disorders. Advanced study of behavioral sciences is referred to the problems of the young generation, addicted to alcohol, drugs, or other substance abuses (Krauth, 2006).

There is a need for a detailed study of family origin, circumstances that bring about the development of character traits in the individuals, displaying the physical or emotional problems. In the youthful age, the individuals are more vulnerable to impulsive behavior which ultimately leads them towards the worst kind of addictive disorders due to the family matters, environment, race, and community. There is a need for counselors and therapists to treat such individuals who are at high risks and willing to commit suicide too (Krauth, 2006).

The environmental factors are instrumental to develop the impulsive reactions of the individuals who bring up in such surroundings where drug-taking is so common; they would automatically be addicted to drug abuse by being of such a social setup (Anderson, 2006). Some researchers find that genetic predisposition is also a cause of addictive disorders as individuals are likely susceptible to psychoactive substances. The genetic components are influential and natural as the individuals are susceptible to the chemical dependence that alcoholism and drug addiction are taken as inherited disorders where the genetic components or psychoactive substances (Anderson, 2006).

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A genetic predisposition is a dormant vulnerability to addictive factors which can be activated under specific circumstances. A genetic predisposition is a genetically dominant and recessive phenotype of the organism in an individual which is responsible for total physical appearance or specific symptoms or traits or behavior which are varied in the individuals (Anderson, 2006).

When individuals are suffering from the worst kinds of addictive disorders, there is no more zest of life and they become ignorant of their bodily health. There is a need of educating people who fighting addiction on how to provoke awareness that such addictive factors are negatively crushing physical health, having negative implications like let’s get “wasted”, “ripped” or “messed up”. The abstinence is much favorable to recover all unhealthy aptitudes of addiction.

A healthy diet is also influential for the recovery of an addict if they take proper nutrition and exercise (Ryan, 2006). According to the Mental health research of scientists, there are a number of underlying factors of addictive or psychiatric disorders which receive signals from the brain. Scientists have experimented on different groups of rats to detect the effects of anti-depressants or depressants how depression may affect the positivity and activity of the brain (Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Addictive Disorders, 2008).

The addictive disorders can be cured with the help of a counselor who provides hope of rehabilitation, promotion, and trust for the addicts. The addicts should develop courage and faith in the professional skills of the advisor by implementing the given set of instructions. The counselor may be assistive in undergoing an effective treatment process by overcoming the common reasons e.g. desires, weaknesses, shortcomings, fears, violence, or drawbacks of the character or destruction.

The basic role of the counselor is to guide the individuals who have suffered from such addictive disorders while restoring their living standard up to healthful activities and well-being. The counselors stimulate them how to boost up their inherent healing power and use the instructional framework by self-realization or self-identification. When an individual suffers from some addictive disorders, he deviates from the true path, influential human functioning, and family wellness or spiritual development. There would be a prominent gap due to this addictive disorder, hampering the family relationship due to the community imbalance or impairment and everyone would be influenced by it (Dakai, 2003).

It is very important for the promotion of effective addiction counseling that the counselor should develop a knowledgeable understanding about the cultural heritage and limitation of the social set up so that they communicate with the addicts by arousing their awareness about the structural phenomenon of the specific society. If the counselor has no proper understanding of the problematic issues or individualistic conflicts, he would fail to understand and treat the addictive disorders which are developed in the individuals due to their impulsivity and desirability for certain substances. The lack of proper understanding may hamper the effective intervention on the professional as well as the personal level (Dakai, 2003).

The Ohio State University Medical Centre declares that for a decade or more, there has been an increase in teens’ consumption of alcohol, cocaine, caffeine, nicotine, and depressants such as barbiturates, psychedelics, LSD, phencyclidine, marijuana, opiates, heroin, and narcotics. With the decriminalization of marijuana, more and more teens from age seven and up are taking marijuana.

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Even though the politicians declare that people can enjoy marijuana for medical reasons or recreational purposes, more and more cases of marijuana-related accidents are being reported. So are the causes of mood disorders among teens that cause rampage killings and social disturbance. Then we are questioned, is there a correlation between substance abuse and mood disorders.

Mood disorders represent one of the categories of mental illness. Too often, the mental illness itself is difficult to detect and distinguish between one type of mental illness and another type of mental illness as they vary from one type to another and from one symptom to another.

Dr. Kunz (1982) claims that if you are able to maintain a psychological and mental balance, and avoid any kind of stress then you are mentally healthy. Not everyone can suffer from mental illness but certain people are very susceptible to mental illness. Some may be caused by internal influences such as schizophrenia, depression, and compulsions (Kunz, 1982); others are caused by the variations of the chemicals in the brain (Kunz, 1982, Buskist & Gerbing, 1990) and the external influences such as drugs, illnesses due to alcohol and drugs; and personality factors do have an effect whether a person is susceptible to mental illness or not.

Neuroscientists may claim that “the chemistry of the brain probably plays an important part in causing mental illness… but most cases of mental illness such as manic depression, anxiety, or hypochondriasis are thought to be largely the result of personality factors” (Russell, 2008). Some people may be, by nature, neurotic. Said Russell (2008), “they irritate easily, are over-sensitive, and may lack energy. When under stress, such people sometimes become depressed or anxious. Many others are cyclothymic … they have swings in mood from elation and energy to lethargy and withdrawal. Under stress, such people may become manic-depressive.” (Russell, 2008)

While Buskist & Gerbing (1990) claimed that people with these disorders require psychological treatment, Russell (2008) argued that some people are able to overcome these disadvantages even though it is inherited personally.

They manage to cope with their mood swings and do not require medical or psychological treatment. He claimed that between three to four percent of patients come to visit their physicians because of emotional problems. Different from today’s mental illness diagnosis of the modern medicine of the pharmacology industry, which quickly diagnoses a person that he or she is suffering from this or that kind of illness and require drugs, Russell concluded, you may be neurotic or cyclothymic but that does not mean that you are mentally ill.

In nutshell, it is concluded that individuals are susceptible to multitudes of compulsive or impulsive or hereditary reactions towards the specific substances which are the main cause of their addictive disorders. It is the responsibility of the addiction counselor how he identifies the certain factors which help to develop the addictive measures in the individuals. How the counselor may help to educate the sufferers to overcome their addiction and to lead the normal life with active and proper activities.

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How the effective treatment of addictive disorders or chronic diseases may help to develop healthy physical or psychological habits in the individuals. How he proves his professional skills more advantageous for the addicts to improve their unhealthy attitudes towards life in a better way.


Qualitative research involves human behavior, experiences and is descriptive. It does not require any measurement or mathematical calculations. But it requires the research to take surveys, interviews, and questionnaires to collect data on how people believe or react or behave about a certain thing. Qualitative research is based on experimental methods for the assessment or measurement of the hypothetical generations, representing the paradigm of researchers’ inquisitive inclination.

The qualitative methodological tools are helpful for the deeper understanding and examining the implications by boosting up the learning or teaching scope (Choosing Qualitative Research: A Primer for Technology Education Researchers, 1997).

The qualitative methods are variable to test the situational aptitudes of the individuals how they develop their addictions in certain circumstances. The qualitative data is significantly resourceful to give all considerable information in the context of the researcher’s main target of findings. The researchers strive hard to interpret, describe and analyze all facts & figures after collecting the data from different kinds of observable experiments in order to generalize their hypothesis. As if the researchers have to find out the answer to this question “is impulsive behavior a cause for addictive disorders?” they would observe the behaviors of different groups of individuals in certain situations how they become addicted to the substances, showing their compulsive or impulsive reactions against such conditional surroundings.


Anderson, McGowan-Anderson, L.J. (2006), Genetic Predisposition: Is the Human Organism Predisposed to Addictive Disorders? Journal of Addictive Disorders. Web.

Buskist, William & Gerbing, David W. (1990). Psychology: Boundaries and Frontiers. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Dakai, S.H. (2003), Addiction Counseling: Examination of various Addiction Counseling and Therapy Approaches, Journal of Addictive Disorders. Web.

Hoepfl, Marie C. Choosing Qualitative Research: A Primer for Technology Education Researchers, Volume 9, Number 1, 1997. Web.

Krauth, K.R. (2006) Identifying Adolescent Problems of Substance Abuse and Caregivers Approach for Treatment, and Prevention, Journal of Addictive Disorders. Web.

Moeller, F. Gerard MD; Dougherty, Donald M. PhD, Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment:Volume 1. 2002. pp. 3-10 , Impulsivity and Substance Abuse: What Is the Connection? (Article review). Web.

Ohio State University Medical Centre. Substance Abuse/Chemical Dependency. Web.

Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Addictive Disorders, The 2008 Progress Report on Brain Research. Web.

Russell, Michael (2008). Web.

Ryan, K.M. (2006). Nutrition and Exercise in a Recovery Milieu. Journal of Addictive Disorders. Web.