Comprehensive Guide to

Impulse Control

Impulse control is a vital skill not only in our personal lives but also in the workplace. It plays a pivotal role in making sound decisions, fostering healthy working relationships, and ensuring productivity. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of impulse control, exploring its core characteristics, causes, statistics, prevalence, and practical strategies for its application in the professional setting and the disorders that may emerge.

Distracted driving is a common way a lack of impulse control can manifest itself.


Impulse Control is the ability to control one’s own thoughts and behaviors in the face of strong emotions and desires. It is closely associated with Mindfulness since you must be mindful of your emotions and desires in order to effectively control them.

What Impulse Control Looks Like: 

Financial Prudence, Slow to Anger, Dietary Discipline, “Let’s sleep on it”

What a Lack of Impulse Control Looks Like:

Distracted Driving, Road Rage, Harmful Addictions, Following Peer Pressure, Procrastination

How Common are Impulse Control Disorders?

In a study involving nearly 10,000 adults aged 18 and older, about 7.3% reported experiencing Impulse Control Disorders at some point in their lives. Impulse Control affects women slightly more: the prevalence of impulse control disorders among women is approximately 9.3%.

Quick Reads on

Impulse Control

Core Characteristics of Impulse Control in the Workplace

Understanding impulse control in a professional context involves recognizing the following core characteristics:

  1. Thoughtful Decision-Making: Individuals with strong impulse control in the workplace demonstrate the ability to make thoughtful decisions even when confronted with emotional or impulsive reactions.

  2. Stress Management: Effective impulse control includes the capacity to manage stress and emotions, preventing them from negatively affecting job performance.

  3. Respectful Communication: It involves maintaining respectful and constructive communication with colleagues, superiors, and subordinates, even during challenging situations.

  4. Adherence to Organizational Values: Impulse control aligns with the organization’s values and codes of conduct, ensuring that actions are in harmony with these principles.

  5. Conflict Resolution: It aids in resolving conflicts professionally and avoiding impulsive, unproductive confrontations.

How Common are Impulse Control Challenges in the Workplace?

Impulse control challenges are not uncommon in professional settings. Many employees grapple with maintaining composure and rationality, particularly when faced with high-pressure situations. While precise statistics on impulse control issues in the workplace are challenging to obtain, it is clear that these challenges affect a significant portion of the workforce.

Impulse Control in the Workplace: When is it an Issue?

Distinguishing between normal workplace reactions and impulse control issues is vital. Impulse control in the workplace becomes a concern when:

  • Impulsive reactions are frequent and disruptive to the work environment.
  • Decisions and actions driven by emotions lead to negative consequences for individuals, teams, or the organization.
  • Colleagues or supervisors consistently struggle with maintaining professionalism during challenging situations.

What Causes Impulse Control Challenges in the Workplace?

Understanding the causes of impulse control challenges in the workplace is essential for addressing and mitigating these issues:

  1. Stress and Pressure: High levels of stress, tight deadlines, and heavy workloads can lead to impulsive reactions and decisions.

  2. Emotional Triggers: Emotional triggers, such as frustration, anger, or fear, can impair impulse control, leading to impulsive behaviors or words.

  3. Lack of Emotional Regulation Skills: Individuals with limited emotional regulation skills may struggle with impulse control in the workplace.

  4. Personality Traits: Some personality traits, such as impulsivity or low frustration tolerance, may predispose individuals to impulse control challenges.

  5. Workplace Culture: An unsupportive or toxic workplace culture can exacerbate impulse control issues, as employees may feel compelled to react impulsively to protect themselves or assert authority

Quick Reads on

ADHD and Impulse Control

Practical Strategies for Impulse Control in the Workplace

Managing impulse control in the workplace is essential for career success and maintaining harmonious work relationships. Here are some practical strategies:

  1. Mindfulness and Emotional Awareness: Developing mindfulness and emotional awareness can help individuals recognize and manage emotional triggers effectively.

  2. Pause and Reflect: Encourage employees to take a moment to pause and reflect before responding to challenging situations. This brief pause can prevent impulsive reactions.

  3. Effective Communication Skills: Providing training in effective communication can enhance impulse control by teaching employees how to express themselves respectfully and constructively.

  4. Stress Management Techniques: Teach stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, to help employees manage stress and prevent impulsive reactions.

  5. Conflict Resolution Training: Equipping employees with conflict resolution skills can prevent impulsive confrontations and promote constructive problem-solving.

  6. Leadership Role Modeling: Leaders should model impulse control in their behavior, setting an example for their teams to follow.

Stats on Intermittent Explosive disorder:

  • People with Intermittent Explosive Disorder, on average, have 43 lifetime episodes resulting in $1,359 worth of property damage.

  • Only 28.8% of individuals with Intermittent Explosive Disorder have ever received treatment for their condition.

  • Around 82% of individuals with Intermittent Explosive Disorder also have co-existing Axis I psychiatric disorders, with mood disorders being the most common.

Are Men or Women more likely to explode with anger?

Out of those admitted to psychiatric services for Intermittent Explosive Disorder, 80% are men. This disorder makes up only 2% of all Impulse Control Disorder cases.

How common are Gambling Addictions?

Pathological gambling affects up to 3% of the general population, but in areas with easy access to gambling, the rate can be as high as 7%.

The typical pathological male gambler is a white individual aged 40-50 years, belonging to the middle to upper socioeconomic class.

How Common is Kleptomania (the recurrent urge to steal)?

The diagnosed prevalence of kleptomania is estimated to be about 0.6%.

Up to 5% of those who are caught shoplifting would qualify for a medical diagnosis of kelptomania.


How do Women exhibit Impulse Control Deficit?

Women with Impulse Control Disorders tend to show relationship aggression as a primary symptom.