Why am I so Impulsive? What Causes Impulsive Behavior?

Occasional impulsive behavior is normal, but if it becomes regular or excessive it can signal deeper and untreated mental health issues. Impulsive behavior can take a number of forms, including promiscuity, actively searching for conflicts or fights, and engaging in chronic drug or alcohol usage. These sorts of behavior can have serious negative consequences, including broken relationships and criminal charges. 

What Mental Illness Causes Impulsive Behavior?

Conditions that have impulse behavior as a symptom include Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Substance Use Disorders. If you or someone you know exhibits these behaviors, it can be helpful to focus on getting mental health help rather than on the symptoms and behaviors themselves. 

Bipolar Disorder

 

Bipolar disorder might be what causes impulsive behavior in your case. Bipolar disorder is typified by extreme mood swings between emotional highs (known as mania or hypomania) and lows (known as depression). The manic phase is often accompanied by feelings of euphoria, increased irritability, higher energy levels, and impulsive behavior. The depressive phase can include symptoms like lowered energy, decreased motivation, and a lack of interest in daily activities. These moods can last days, weeks, or even months. 

Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 

 

Symptoms of Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) include hyperactivity, difficulty focusing, and impulsive behavior. The condition can lead to problems such as poor work performance, unstable relationships, and decreased self-esteem. Treatment options may include psychotherapy, medication, and additional treatment for other mental health conditions that occur with ADHD, including impulsive decisions. 

Borderline Personality Disorder

 

Individuals with borderline personality disorder can present with self-image issues, impulsive behavior including the making of impulsive decisions, unstable moods and behavior, and impaired relationships. You may have a deep fear of abandonment and being alone, while the disorder’s symptoms prevent you from developing lasting and caring relationships. Treatment often includes talk therapy, and in some cases medication. 

Substance Use Disorders

 

Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) are mental disorders that impact an individual’s brain and behavioral patterns, causing an inability to control their use of substances like alcohol, medications, and legal or illegal drugs. The symptoms of a SUD can be moderate to severe. Addiction is the most severe form of a SUD and is typified by impulsive behavior in connection with a particular substance or drug. 

How to Treat Mental Health and Impulsive Behavior

The good news is there are several common approaches to treatment that can help decrease impulsive behavior, including psychotherapy, practicing mindfulness and other coping mechanisms, and pharmaceutical drugs. Finally, it can be helpful to focus on other mental health conditions and disorders that may be contributing to impulsive behavior. 

 

For instance, substance use disorders are often connected to impulsivity, although in these cases the impulsive behavior is usually exhibited in connection with the drug or substance in question — that is, when the individual is under the influence of the drug or is actively craving or seeking it. A dual diagnosis approach to addiction treatment can help to curb impulsive behavior. 

 

Similarly, Bipolar Disorder can create fundamental feelings of instability that lead individuals to engage in unstable behaviors and relationships, and impulsive actions. The proper treatment of Bipolar Disorder can help to improve overall mental health while at the same time reducing impulsive behavior.  

Learn More about Mental Health Treatment at Beachway

At Beachway, we strive to fully understand each person’s unique challenges and facilitate healing through a multidisciplinary approach that examines all aspects of the individual – psychological, spiritual, social, and biological.

 

We treat a variety of mental health conditions, and our medical and clinical team are involved in all levels of your care, from intake to discharge. Learn more about mental health treatment at Beachway today