Having a child with impulsive traits is completely normal. However, if this impulsivity lasts over time and affects their coexistence and performance, it can affect their well-being and have important consequences.
What are the symptoms of impulsivity in childhood and adolescence?
The symptoms of these children and adolescents can evolve over time and become behavioral disorders. Children and adolescents with lack of impulse control may exhibit the following symptoms:
– They speak and act without thinking
– They are quick to respond
– They do not learn the consequences of their actions
– They lose patience easily
– They are disorganized
– Have poor planning skills
– Show excessive switching from one activity to another
– Interrupt the activities and conversations of others
– Need constant supervision
– Often have accidents
– Argue, talk back and talk back
– Always want to win
– Fight easily
– They find it hard to wait their turn
– Demand immediate satisfaction and response to their demands
– They do not tolerate frustration
– Sometimes, because of these actions, they are rejected by their peers.
Impulsivity: Are there biological causes?
According to a study published in Journal of Neuroscience (2016), impulsive adolescents may have differences in their brain structure. This study, prepared by Dr. Avram Holmes of Yale University, along with other clinical researchers from Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, has confirmed – through the use of neuroimaging (MRI) – that increased impulsivity is related to clear differences in brain structures. In this sense, the areas involved in decision-making and self-control have a thinner cerebral cortex, especially in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial frontal gyrus.
Traditionally, it has always been thought that socio-educational causes are responsible for behavioral problems in adolescents and young adults. However, with this study it is clear that the environmental factor is important, but not decisive. Thus, there may already be a vulnerability in the genes (SIRPB1 gene on chromosome 20) that facilitates low impulse control and conditions the maturity and development of the cerebral cortex.
This aspect is basic in the prevention of behavioral problems, since any clinical intervention by the child and adolescent psychiatry specialist will be more useful if it is early, and more so in a developing brain.