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Impulse control

A prime  challenge for those in anger management is impulse control. It doesn’t just apply to anger, it applies in the parallel area of addiction, be it drugs, gambling, porn, or food. The urge to ‘go for it’ takes over one’s better judgment.

204 impulse control







Power switches back and forth in the brain between internal and external stimuli. The internal comes from the emotional part of the brain that requires immediate acknowledgement and gratification. It cannot wait. Pushed by a surge of dopamine it over rides any rational considerations. Conversely the external resides in our executive controls where true self interest resides. Where the bigger picture of our long term needs and  connection to others matters.

Our ally is our  ability to see the downside of being impulsive. Some people come by this naturally others are not so fortunate. For those with anger and addiction problems the wiring in the executive part of the brain got messed up very early on in life. It requires serious conscious effort to extricate oneself from this rat hole. The temptation is always there to revert to being impulsive.

In anger management we look at time outs, a walk around the , focusing and  counting one’s breath. In addiction the dopamine surge probably lasts ten minutes. This requires a discipline of knowing the urge will pass. With anger it is cortisol that reflects stress and which lasts just under twenty minutes.

To achieve objectivity requires seeing the consequences of controlling the impulse versus  not controlling the impulse. Talk is cheap, effort is hard and life is a choice.


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