If you act before thinking about the consequences of the behavior, you’re acting impulsively. Impulsivity often shows itself in a lack of understanding of cause and effect. Difficulties in waiting for what you want can also add to the impulsivity. Although this can affect an individual in many ways, recognizing when a behavior becomes problematic can be difficult. Impulsive behavior that might need attention may include, but not be limited to, irrational beliefs, repetitive thoughts, Internet addiction, compulsive sexual behavior and compulsive gambling.
If your exercise controls you, instead of the other way around, or if you feel you must work out each every day despite commitments, or even if you are injured, then you may have an exercise addiction. In addition, your exercise addiction may go hand in hand with an eating disorder.
Compulsive gambling is the chronic and progressive failure to resist the impulse to gamble. It persistently disrupts personal, family, or vocational pursuits. Compulsive gamblers are preoccupied with gambling, and they consider gambling to be a source of action and excitement in addition to winnings.
- Internet addiction is an umbrella term for a wide variety of impulsive behaviors. There are at least five specific types of Internet addiction:
- Cybersexual addiction is the addiction to adult chat rooms or online pornography.
- Cyber-relationship addiction is the addiction to online friendships formed in chat rooms, MUDs, or online communities that replace real-life friends and family.
- Net compulsions include compulsive online gambling, the addiction to online auctions, and obsessive online trading.
- Information overload is compulsive web surfing or database searching.
- Computer addiction includes obsessive computer game-playing or programming, and mostly affects men, children, and teenagers.
Sexually Compulsive Behavior
As they can with most behaviors, people can take sex to obsessive and compulsive extremes. Sexual obsessions and compulsions are recurrent, distressing and interfere with daily functioning. Support groups such as Sex Addicts Anonymous can help people overcome sexual compulsions.
Self-Injurious Behavior (Cutting)
When people intentionally cause themselves bodily harm, they engage in self-injurious behavior. Individuals may harm themselves in order to deal with difficult or overwhelming emotions, or when they are not sure how to manage their emotions effectively. Self-injury may take several forms such as cutting, skin-picking, hair-pulling, burning, biting or hitting.