Impulsive Behavior Disorder in Teens and Ways to Deal with it

Is your teen someone that tends to take action impulsively, without considering the consequences? Does your teen find that their hasty decisions wind up getting them in trouble, but continue to make them anyway?

Dealing with impulsive behavior disorder can be quite challenging, especially because teenagers by nature are quite impulsive. It can be difficult to draw a line between what is normal impulsive behavior associated with being young and careless and what is a symptom of impulsive behavior disorder. Impulsive behavior is actually a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder  (BPD), and can have a number of different effects on your teen’s life.

Symptoms of Impulsive Behavior Disorder: Some common examples of impulsive behavior include:

  • Promiscuous sex
  • Out of control binge eating
  • Yelling, shouting, aggression, or screaming at other people
  • Physical aggression
  • Shoplifting
  • Dangerous driving
  • Careless spending sprees
  • Destroying property
  • Threatening others

Impulsive behavior disorder in general is when someone acts without thought. This can have a number of consequences, depending on what the act is. Teens who have impulsive behavior disorder make hasty decisions without considering the implications for themselves or others, basing their decisions on how they feel in the moment. It’s important to note that occasional impulsive behavior is not necessarily a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

How to Deal With Impulsive Behavior Disorder in Teens
Often people think that the only way to deal with impulsive behavior disorder is to medicate their teens. While this works for some families, and some teens, it should be taken as a last resort where possible. Many teens are simply unaware that they are acting in an impulsive way and often parents misdiagnose typical impulsive teenage behavior as being a bigger issue than it really is. If you feel that your teen is frequently acting impulsively and it is affecting their health, well-being, relationships with others or academic success then it is time for you to step in.

Dealing with a teenager with impulsive behavior can be quite challenging, especially if it is paired with something else like borderline personality disorder. Focusing on improving your teen’s self control and encouraging them to invest time into thinking things through before acting can really positively impact your teen. Using effective consequences with your teen can be helpful – if your teen acts in an impulsive way that negatively impacts them or others they should lose access to something they really value for a set period of time – perhaps the use of their cellphone, PlayStation or other prized possession. This will help encourage them to think their actions through, minimizing the impulsive nature of their behavior.

Have you dealt with a teen that suffers from impulsive behavior disorder? What did you find helpful in moving forward?

Image Credit: David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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