Are Drug Addicts Simply Impulsive?

Are Drug Addicts Simply Impulsive?

To imply that a drug addict is simply impulsive, minimizes the problems associated with addiction.  Drug abuse is caused by many things including mental health issues, inability to handle stress or other problems, or unresolved childhood issues.  Impulsiveness is a component of drug addiction yet the drug addict will also experience impulse-control problems in other areas.
A drug addict lacks the ability to say no despite the negative consequences of the addiction.  A person can lose a job or a residence and still need to use drugs.  To be impulsive means that a person puts no thought or reason into doing something.  In relation to drug abuse, the addict will use despite health issues, family problems, or the possibility of losing everything.
The addiction process starts with a single act of using a drug.  If the individual has a difficult time saying no or is impulsive in other areas, they may try drugs again and again until an addiction begins.
There are some that believe that addicts are simply impulsive and they would not have a problem if they were able to control their impulses.  Addiction is a process and takes months or even years to develop.  The addict might have thoughts about not using again and experience an internal struggle related to whether to continue using the drug.  There is some thought that goes into the early stages of an addiction; therefore, the person’s behavior would not be considered impulsive.
Impulsive behaviors are not thought out or planned before engaging in the behavior.  The behavior occurs immediately following an impulsive thought.  Drug addicts experience quite a bit of planning in obtaining and using drugs.  When someone states that a drug addict is impulsive, they probably mean that the addict has a compulsion to use the drug.  The terms impulsive and compulsive are not interchangeable.  Compulsions are driven by emotional factors and are acted upon to feel a sense of control.  They also give a person a sense of purpose where impulses are rather a desire to fulfill an immediate need.  The drugs an addict ingests are not taken on a whim and addicts report feeling better after using.
The answer to the question, are drug addicts simply impulsive, the immediate answer is no.  Drug addicts are people with a problem driven by emotional and behavioral problems that are left unresolved.

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