Recent reports show that more than 14 million Americans are struggling with alcohol use disorder while over 8 million are living with drug addiction. Nearly 2.5 million suffer from both. Additionally, an estimated 11 percent of Americans are battling impulse control disorders. Are those portions of the population one and the same? Do those who suffer from impulse control disorders more commonly succumb to drug and alcohol addiction? Studies indicate there could certainly be links between the two.
In truth, the connection between impulse control and susceptibility to addiction is complicated. An array of environmental, psychological, and biological factors enter the mix when determining just how closely these disorders are related. Though not everyone who lives with addiction struggles with controlling impulses, either issue can leave people seeking drug rehab in austin texas to find relief.
Understanding Impulse Control
First off, take a closer look at impulse control. It's the ability to resist sudden urges or desires, and it's an important element of self-regulation. It affects people's behaviors and decision-making abilities. People with poor impulse control have trouble resisting urges. Instead, they act on those impulses without thinking of their long-term consequences. They focus on the perceived short-term gratification their actions provide without realizing the possible repercussions to follow.
Delving Into Addiction
Addiction involves the compulsive use of drugs or alcohol. People are compelled to seek out those substances because of their short-term impacts, but they often fail to consider the aftermath. Research has shown a higher occurrence of poor impulse control among people who struggle with addiction. An inability to resist strong urges to turn to drugs or alcohol could certainly contribute to heightened substance abuse and addiction. At the same time, addiction can detract from a person's ability to control their impulses.
Exploring the Factors that Influence Impulse Control and Addiction
Certain factors can influence both impulse control and a person's inclination toward addiction. Biological factors can include the way people's brains are hardwired. Studies show that people with impulse control issues and addiction may have similar dopamine transmission patterns. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that's associated with the brain's pleasure and reward responses. Additionally, brain imaging scans show similarities in activity in the prefrontal cortex among people who struggle with addiction and those with impulse control disorders. Genetic predispositions can also make people more susceptible to impulse control and addiction issues.
Psychological factors may also enter the mix. Conditions like ADHD and certain personality disorders are more likely to cause poor impulse control. That, in turn, can increase the risk of addiction for people who live with those conditions. People who live with high levels of stress, low self-esteem, or the effects of traumatic experiences are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism as well. That can exacerbate impulse control issues. It can also be heightened by impulse control disorders in people who suffer from them.
Environmental influences come into play too. People who are exposed to substance abuse or impulse control disorders in childhood may be more likely to suffer from one or both issues as adults. Peer pressure and other social factors may also increase a person's risk of developing impulse control and addiction disorders.
All Things Considered
Clear links have been established between impulse control disorders and addiction. Not everyone who suffers from one condition also battles the other. Still, the two often go hand in hand. Having poor impulse control can make people more likely to act on their urges to drink or use drugs. From the opposite perspective, drugs and alcohol can make people less capable of acting on urges. In either case, addressing both issues is the key to overcoming them.