Impulsivity, compulsivity and addiction are relating terms because they incline to addictive behavior.
Impulsivity is a tendency to act on impulse and not after careful thinking. Impulsive people are unable to control immediate reactions to situations or think before an action. Compulsivity is an inclination to repeat the same thing usually purposeless acts that sometimes cause undesirable consequences. Compulsive and impulsive behavior both causes dysfunction of the impulsive control. Each causes alterations with various neural processes such as perception, attention and coordination of cognitive or motor responses.
Addiction is the compound condition that makes the brain to have an intense focus on using particular substances such as drugs or alcohol to the point of taking over the life. People with addiction cannot stop using certain elements to function even when they understand the consequences.
The relationship between impulsivity, Compulsivity, and Addiction
Addiction damages prefrontal cortex one of the four parts of the brain outer most layer called cerebral cortex. This section controls essential functions such as language, decision making, conscious thought and judgment. Addiction negatively affects and alters the functioning of the prefrontal cortex to prevent rationality, sound decision making and overriding impulsive urges. It causes acting without thinking to open the way to impulsivity and compulsivity. Addiction damage to the pre-frontal cortex is like weakening the brakes of the brain to cause a loss of control.
Impulsivity and Addiction
Addiction process creates a transition from impulsivity to compulsivity. It is during this phase that people will impulsively act on the powerful urges to experience pleasure addiction. Anxiety has no association with cravings during the early stages. Dependence reflects acting on the impulsive desire to get immediate pleasure that someone derives from partaking in an activity or a drug. The person at the time does not have the rationality to consider the future consequences. Impulsive behaviors can arise because of a present addiction. For instance, a gambling addict might impulsively develop a habit of drinking alcohol or smoke marijuana when at the casino. Other impulsive behaviors might occur due to the addiction when trying to sustain it. Observation of various alcohol or drug addicts shows that their first addiction triggers impulsive behaviors like engaging in risky sexual behaviors, stealing, getting into fights and driving under the influence.
Compulsivity and Addiction
A shift occurs if addiction progresses without an effort to control it making the compulsive aspect to take hold. When this shift occurs, an addict no longer pursues craving for pleasure alone. Compulsions usually are behaviors that people execute to meet a particular internal motivation or need. An individual can abuse drugs or alcohol when experimenting with peers. The experiment will with time cause a compulsion to use a substance alone because it allows better feeling, eliminates upsetting feelings or thoughts. Over time an addiction will develop.
Strong compulsions compel the partaker to continue engaging in addiction to relieve anxious, uncomfortable feelings. These compulsions can arise at the sheer thought of taking action to stop addiction due to reasons like lack of opportunity or shortage of supply.
A late compulsive stage cause perceived "pleasure" in the form of relief from feelings of anxiety and discomfort. It is the reason why addicts continue with their harmful behavior compulsively despite their knowledge of the negative consequences.
Treatment for Patient with Impulsivity, Compulsivity, and Addiction
The purpose of treating patients with these conditions is to help them achieve sobriety, manage stress, prevent relapse, identify triggers and the high-risk situations. Treatment is a therapy that involves using a combination of two or more of these approaches.
- Medication management of substance and any other medical disorders
- Individual or group therapy for drug, alcohol and substance use as well as cessation
- Treatment of behavioral addictions such as kleptomania (uncontrollable desire to steal), compulsive skin picking, gambling, sexual addiction and trichotillomania
- Counseling of the family members and co-dependants of substance abusers The best treatment is that which makes a patient learn coping skills to overcome impulsivity, compulsivity and addiction.