Finding link between impulsiveness and drinking

Finding link between impulsiveness and drinking

People usually try to avoid any conversation or interaction with people dependent on alcohol, fearing their aggressive or rather impulsive behavior. Now, even science seems to agree with people who harbor such thoughts.

An estimated 86.4 percent people of age 18 or older in the United States reportedly had alcohol at some point in their lifetime, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Another 70 percent consumed alcohol in the past year and 56 percent reportedly consumed alcohol in the past month. The alcohol misuse in the U.S. translates to an economic burden of $249.0 billion with binge drinking contributing to three-quarters of the total cost.

Talking about other serious consequences, every year around 1,825 college students aged 18-24 years succumb to alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle accidents. Students addicted to alcohol assault around 696,000 students each year in the age group of 18 to 24. The number of students between the ages of 18 and 24 who have experienced alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape annually is as high as 97,000.

The numbers pertaining to alcohol-related violence suggests a possible link between alcohol and impulsive behavior and there are evidences to support the claim.

Alcohol consumption and impulsivity

According to review “Understanding the construct of impulsivity and its relationship to alcohol use disorders,” published in the journal Addiction Biology in 2010, there is a possible association between impulsivity and alcohol use as heavy alcohol consumption is known to trigger impulsive behavior while impulsivity here, as per researchers, refers to antisocial personality disorders or simply antisocial activities.

Researchers define impulsivity as a tendency to react rapidly and in an unplanned manner in response to personal or external reasons without bothering about the negative consequences of these reactions to the impulsive individual or others.

Impulsiveness or impulsivity is a state of mind when an individual fails to resist an impulse or urge, thereby causing harmful consequences to oneself or others. The above study reported a significant relevance of impulsivity in alcoholics and heavy drinkers.

Studies based on the development of dependence suggest the occurrence of homeostatic dysregulation (a negative emotional state after the addict is unable to access the drug or alcohol) during chronic, heavy alcohol consumption. This negative state of mind may also be linked to weak self-regulation or loss of self-control. Therefore, alcohol cannot only evoke or magnify impulsive behavior, but over the time, it can also increase the likelihood of impulsive behavior in chronic alcoholics.

According to a 2014 study, published in the “Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research,” heavy alcohol intake in adolescence may cause changes in the brain structure and function, thereby, leading to decreased behavioral (impulse) control. Moreover, it turns out be a vicious cycle with this inability to control impulse promoting further heavy drinking.

Helping addicts getting over impulsivity

Considering the interrelationship between heavy drinking and impulsive behavior, controlling alcohol consumption during adolescence appears to be an effective strategy to manage impulsivity. This can also help rein in other problems related to alcoholism. The study also reported lower levels of impulsivity and better self-control in adolescents who had stopped heavy drinking.

If you or your loved one is trying to overcome alcohol addiction, contact the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to lead a healthy and a happy life. We can also help you find best alcohol addiction treatment centers in California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online for further information. One should not delay treatment or things can get out of hand and treatment can become difficult.

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