Addictions, compulsions, and impulsive behaviors all involve irrational acting-out, but for distinctly different reasons:
An addiction is a blind attempt to repeatedly seek fulfillment in something that is self-destructive.
A compulsion is a repeated action that is irrationally thought to reduce anxiety, but actually makes it worse.
Impulsive behaviors result from a breakdown in the attempt to suppress base drives which are then acted-out.
Overcoming compulsions means squarely and consistently facing one’s fears. Managing impulsive behaviors involves integrating one’s aggressive and sexual drives within the accepted social values. Recovery from addiction implies abstinence: Unless an addiction is arrested, it crowds out other possibilities for personal or relational growth.
Addiction, compulsion, and impulsive behavior often overlap. When they do, the first priority is to arrest the cycle of addiction. This is often aided by group support.
But abstinence alone is not enough. The work of facing one’s fears, and the inner work of personal integration, are essential parts of a proportioned recovery. And this is where psychotherapy finds its role.
Call today to set up an appointment with Dr. Jim.