Impulsivity and Self-Destructive Behaviors

Impulsivity is often correlated with self-destructive behaviors.  Impulsivity includes elements of :

1. Making a quick response without taking time to reflect

2. Being unable to maintain your attention  

3. Having a problem with rage or aggression

Therefore, impulsive acts will be quick, spontaneous, excessive and often inappropriate. When psychologists assess people who are impulsive, we often find that these individuals have personalities that include:  1. Action without thought;   2. Lack of consideration for the future;  and 3. Difficulty focusing, often with intrusive thoughts.

With this in mind, it is easy to see how impulsivity can lead people to behave in ways that could harm themselves, either physically or psychologically.  Impulsivity is associated with personality problems, PTSD, and eating disorders and is often set off by real or imagined loss, rejection or abandonment.

Source: Jean Ganon. “An empirical study of the psychodynamics of borderline impulsivity.” Psychoanalytic Psychology, 2022 Vol 28 #3 341-362.

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