Have you ever thought about the link between impulsivity and alcoholism? Studies have shown that individuals who tend to be more impulsive may be at higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. While alcohol addiction can be linked to a number of different risk factors, impulsivity is one of the key predictors of this condition.
If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, it’s important to understand the role impulsivity may play in the disease. By understanding this connection, you can be better prepared to seek treatment and overcome addiction.
What Is Impulsivity?
Impulsivity is defined as a tendency to act on impulse without thought or planning. Individuals who are impulsive tend to be more reactive and less able to resist urges or distractions. This impulsivity can manifest in a number of different ways, including:
- Buying things impulsively
- Talking to strangers
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Making rash decisions
The Research on Impulsivity and Alcoholism
According to a study from researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University, a genetic predisposition toward impulsivity is a characteristic that may predict your risk of alcoholism. The study used selective breeding of mice and ended up with two genetically different lines. One group of mice drank high volumes of alcohol; the other group avoided alcohol. They tested impulsivity by offering two types of rewards: a small reward the mice could get immediately and a larger, better award for which the mice had to wait. The researchers found that the mice bred to prefer alcohol were more likely to go for the immediate yet smaller reward, a sign of impulsivity.
By extrapolating these results to humans, the researchers believe that early signs of risk factors for alcoholism would include behavioral disorders associated with impulsivity, such as ADHD and bipolar disorder.
Family History and Alcohol Addiction
It’s clear that a family history of addiction can raise your risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. But impulsivity has been shown to be a common characteristic among those with a family history of alcoholism.
If you have a family history of addiction, looking out for the warning signs of impulsivity can help you catch an addiction early on. These signs may include:
- Binge drinking
- Uncontrollable urges to drink
- Blackouts or memory loss after drinking
- Difficulty controlling your alcohol intake
- Making excuses to drink
While impulsivity is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to alcoholism, it’s an important factor. If you or a loved one are struggling with impulsivity and alcohol use, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. With the right treatment, you can overcome addiction and build a healthy, sober life.
The Most Effective Approach to Treating Alcohol Addiction
The best way to treat alcohol addiction is with a comprehensive approach that addresses all underlying causes of the condition. No two individuals in recovery are alike. For that reason, it’s important to work with a treatment team that can create an individualized treatment plan for your specific needs. Some of the most effective approaches to treating alcohol addiction include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Support groups and 12-step programs
- Holistic therapies
If you or a loved one are struggling with impulsivity and alcohol addiction, don’t wait to seek help.
Find Hope and Healing at Promises
At Promises’ treatment centers around the country, we understand the unique challenges you’re facing. We offer a comprehensive approach to treatment that includes evidence-based therapies and 12-step support. Our team is here to help you every step of the way on your journey to recovery.
Contact us today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you or your loved one overcome impulsivity and alcohol addiction.