In people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), being impulsive is often one of the more challenging symptoms.
It’s also “one of the more challenging aspects to treat and manage,” said Carol Perlman, Ph.D, a psychologist who specializes in ADHD and developed a cognitive behavioral therapy for adult ADHD.
Impulsivity can manifest in many different ways in adults with ADHD. In fact, it can range from seemingly benign to more dangerous behaviors.
For instance, individuals might interrupt conversations or say things they regret. They might hop from one distraction to three others. They might overspend. They might get impatient and drive erratically or engage in other risky behaviors, such as using drugs and having casual sex.
Fortunately, adults with ADHD can learn to manage their impulsivity, so it doesn’t rule their lives. The most important strategy is to get treatment.
“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of appropriate treatment for ADHD, which is usually a combination of therapy – often cognitive behavioral therapy – ADHD coaching and if indicated, medications targeted to treat ADHD symptoms, including impulsivity,” Matlen said.