Children and adolescents who are seriously struggling to contain their emotions and behaviours may dealing with an impulse control disorder.
There is a variety of this type of condition, each characterised by individuals being unable to exhibit self-control.
The result is extreme distress and disruption in aspects of their life.
Those with impulse control disorders do not possess the ability to govern their behaviours or emotional responses, and will find themselves frequently engaging in repetitive and destructive actions in spite of the consequences.
Many diagnosed with ICD may want to moderate their feelings, but urges that characterise the disorder can be overwhelming and they have no alternative but to succumb.
There is a range of common impulse control disorders that often present in children and adolescents.
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Conduct Disorder
However what causes poor impulse control?
Here we discuss some of the potential causes and risk factors for the those disorders.
The causes and risk factors of an impulse control disorder
Research into impulse control disorders is ongoing because health professionals are yet to determine or identify a specific reason why they develop.
However, most professionals agree that it is likely a combination of factors that can contribute to their onset.
Some of those factors may be:
The majority of researchers agree that genetic factors can play a significant role in causing poor impulse control.
Studies have demonstrated that children and adolescents with family members that are suffering from an impulse control disorder are more likely to also develop symptoms of the same condition.
As with many mental health issues, environmental factors can play a significant role in triggering behaviours that are symptomatic of these disorders.
Impulse control disorder symptoms are prevalent in children or adolescents that have been raised in homes where there is violence – verbal or physical – or emotional abuse.
Others might have carers with explosive emotional reactions.
In those situations, there is evidence to suggest children and adolescents may be at higher risk of developing an impulse control disorder.
Many children do not have the tools to cope in such situations, and so the onset of behaviours that are indicative of an ICD are their way of establishing control.
The chaotic nature of an environment ultimately fosters similar emotions in a young person.
They can lead to an impulse control disorder to develop.
Individuals who cannot control or regulate these areas of the brain are more inclined to behave impulsively and be unable to exhibit self-control.
There is also a range of risk factors for impulse control disorders, and individuals that fall into the following categories are more vulnerable:
- Being male
- Being a child or adolescent
- Having a pre-existing mental health issue such as depression, bipolar, ADHD or Schizophrenia
- Being emotionally, physically and/or sexually abused
- Having a family history of mental health issues, specifically those suffering from an ICD
- Having a personal or family history with substance abuse or addiction
- Being repeatedly exposed to violence, aggression and explosive behaviours
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