Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry


Understanding Poor Impulse Control and It’s Associated Disorders

You might know someone who has trouble figuring out their priorities and doing things because they feel like it. They can be a family member, a friend that you’ve known for awhile or simply an acquaintance. You might not know this, but they might have poor impulse control. But what exactly does having poor impulse control mean?

Poor Impulse Control in a Nutshell

Simply put, poor impulse control would mean that a person would have trouble stopping themselves from doing something. This might also mean that they’ll neglect their responsibilities and do what they want to do even if it isn’t appropriate for the situation this can cause a number of problems, not just for the person suffering from it, but also for those around them. There are a number of ways poor impulse control can manifest as well, all of which have varying degrees of severity.


Ever since the dawn of man, humans have been fascinated by fire. This fascination has led us to many technological wonders but that is not the case of a pyromaniac. These people will intentionally burn objects, and even people in extreme cases. What’s worse is that they enjoy watching things burn and they have very little impulse control when it comes to their addiction. 


If pyromania is the fascination with fire, then kleptomania is the fascination with someone else’s things. Kleptomaniacs will go out of their way to take things that do not belong to them. Many of which enjoy the thrill of stealing instead of the object itself. It can start out small with small objects like toys, but eventually they’ll move on to bigger and bigger heists.   

Excessive Gambling

Gambling is easily associated with casinos with it’s slot machines, and black jack. But did you know that gambling is something that exists in our day to day lives too? Even if it doesn’t explicitly say that it’s gambling. An example of this is whether you’d take the expressway or risk getting stuck in traffic on the main highway. As long as choice is involved, it can be considered a gamble. Pathological gamblers thrive on this risk and it can get them in trouble.

Substance Abuse

“Just one more” is something that you’ll hear quite often when it comes to those who indulge in various substances. Some of these substances can include alcohol like beer and wine, or illegal substances like heroin. Either way, excessive indulgence and poor impulse control when it comes to these substances are an extreme danger to the health of the person suffering from it and those around them.  

What You Can Do

Identifying someone with poor impulse control is not that difficult. All you have to do is to pick up on the tell tale signs that they’re doing things just for the sake of doing it. Another sign is that they’re taking their hobbies to an extreme level while neglecting their responsibilities. Despite how easy it is to spot, helping someone suffering from it is another matter. The best solution for this is to find a professional to help them overcome their problems and teach them proper impulse control.



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