Impulsion Phobias: Fear of our own urges

The phobia of impulsive acts is the extreme fear of following an impulse, losing control, and harming yourself or others.

Some diagnostic classifications even view the phobia of impulsive acts as a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), because it is a kind of invasive thinking that takes over your mind.

In the end it makes you take some kind of action or thought (compulsion) to reduce the anxiety that invasive thinking makes you feel. Now we will tell you how to identify it and how you can treat it.

How to identify a phobia to commit impulsive acts?

From a professional point of view, the phobia of impulsive acts is a form of OCD. And whether we see it as a type of OCD or as your own phobia, it is a condition that involves an intense fear of your own urges.

The main clinical characteristics of this disorder are:

  • Being invaded by thoughts that try to follow an impulse and lose control.
  • That the content of these thoughts has something to do with anticipating an “assault.” It could be towards yourself or towards other people.
  • Feeling intense fear just for having these kinds of thoughts.
  • Behaving in a way that you think will prevent these kinds of thoughts from becoming reality.

What are the most common urges?

People who see a professional and are diagnosed with a phobia of impulsive acts can usually identify the thoughts that scare them the most: hurting loved ones, jumping off a balcony, swerving on the road, or jumping in front of a car. train .

In all these cases, the patient has a kind of thought-action fusion.

The way in which the phobia of committing impulsive acts develops is that:

  • First, they have a thought or mental image where they “see” themselves following an impulse and losing control. They see stigma or thinking as catastrophic.
  • Then they will use all the psychological resources they have to “erase” those images or thoughts. But because focusing on your thoughts is the wrong strategy, your anxiety gets even worse and your anticipatory thoughts become even more powerful.
  • Since they cannot control what they think (no one can), they reinforce the power of the idea that they will lose control, and that will make their feeling of fear even stronger.

People who see a psychologist for a phobia of impulsive acts generally say that the thoughts that make them most fearful are those that harm their loved ones.

The most common consequences of the phobia to commit impulsive acts

Any type of OCD or phobia (if what they fear is there every day) will lead to a great reduction in the equality of a person’s life. This happens because they work hard to control their fear and avoid situations that make them anxious.

Needless to say, little by little and without realizing it, they end up throwing away parts of their personal life and wasting a lot of energy trying to control their fear.

Another thing that happens is that you become the enemy. Because it is an egodistonic disorder, your self-demand to control these thoughts is extremely high.

(An egodistonic disorder is when there is a disconnect between what you think and what you want.)… At the same time you also feel that you are fighting against yourself.

That is, obsession and fear will take over the person’s attention. But they think that because it is external, they can control it. When they can’t, they feel like they’re causing the obsession. Hence why they feel like they are fighting what their mind tells them. If it persists, this internal struggle will lead to anxiety and depression, which may also need therapy.

What is the treatment for the phobia of impulsive acts?

The treatment of the phobia to commit impulsive acts, whatever the obsession – be it to harm oneself or others – will always be psychological.

But if a patient has extreme anxiety, therapy and prescription drugs are often appropriate. In general, treatment with therapy is similar to treatment for people with OCD.

It always has to be a psychological treatment because psychologists are the only people with the necessary training and experience.

Treatment will include:

  • Understand how they got this problem and how it is affecting them now.
  • Evaluate and identify the different ways they have tried and failed to cope with their disorder.
  • Developing the things they tried that did work.
  • Understand how your mind and disorder works. That way they can take control of what happens to them.
  • Separate yourself from your thoughts. This means that thinking about something does not mean doing it or being able to do it. It also doesn’t make it more likely to happen.
  • Take back valuable parts of your life that you have neglected.
  • Prevent relapses and strengthen the psychological tools they have learned.

Psychological treatment

Finally, we want to mention that although there are different psychological approaches to treating the phobia of committing impulsive acts, the only ones with research behind them are cognitive-behavioral strategies.

That does not mean that other approaches are not valid. It just means that they have not yet scientifically proven whether or not they work.

This is probably because they do not do many studies on other therapeutic models that are more difficult to standardize.

Brief strategic therapy is one example.

If you identify yourself as someone with a phobia of impulsive acts, remember that it is a psychological problem.

These phobias are impulsive but very focused on certain events, and there are other phobias that are specific , that surface in some situations.

The sooner you face it, the sooner you will find relief. Psychologists are your best allies! So stop putting it off and, if necessary, take that step: ask for help.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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