Impulsive behavior (also known as impulsivity) is the general term for a group of behaviors that occur with little or no planning or personal reflection. Doctors and mental health professionals can measure the tendency toward participation in these behaviors in several ways. Current research indicates that impulsive tendencies can play a significant role in the onset and continuation of several mental\/physical conditions known as eating disorders. Forms of these disorders specifically associated with unusually high degrees of impulsivity include bulimia nervosa, classic anorexia nervosa, and a form of anorexia called binge\/purge anorexia. Impulsive Behavior Basics Impulsivity is characterized by a number of personality traits, including a tendency to react without forethought when in strongly positive or strongly negative emotional states, a tendency to participate in highly stimulating and\/or dangerous activities, a tendency to avoid making plans before acting, a tendency to abandon previous plans before completion, and a failure to anticipate negative or harmful outcomes to one\u2019s actions. Specific problems associated with frequent involvement in impulsivity include increased risks for substance abuse or dependence, increased chances of participating in risky or dangerous sexual practices, and increased risks for involvement in some form of violent conduct. Impulsivity also appears as a prominent symptom in a number of mental disorders, including bipolar I disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and a group of conditions collectively identified as disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders. Mental health professionals can measure impulsive tendencies in teenagers and adults with the help of a long-form questionnaire called the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale. However, some researchers doubt the reliability of this questionnaire, since it relies on subjective responses from each tested individual. Additional objective methods sometimes used to verify UPPS-P testing or other subjective approaches include direct measurement of the body and brain changes that accompany impulsivity and third-party recording of the behaviors that occur in association with impulsivity. Eating Disorder Basics In addition to anorexia and bulimia, conditions officially classified as feeding and eating disorders by the American Psychiatric Association include binge-eating disorder, rumination disorder, pica, and avoidant\/restrictive food intake disorder. In its classic form, anorexia centers on a severe form of weight control reinforced by heavy calorie and food restriction, or in some cases, by habitual participation in extreme exercise routines. Bulimia centers around episodes of excessive food\/calorie consumption and an accompanying weight-control regime that\u2019s reinforced by intentional vomiting, laxative abuse, diuretic abuse, habitual participation in extreme exercise and\/or periods of intense calorie restriction similar to those used by people with anorexia. Binge-eating disorder centers on the same food consumption excesses found in people with bulimia; however, people with this disorder don\u2019t participate in the weight-control measures that characterize a bulimic eating pattern. Binge\/purge anorexia is a subtype of anorexia that differs from the popular conception of the disorder and resembles bulimia and binge-eating disorder in certain respects. People with this subtype heavily control their everyday food intake just like people with classic anorexia. However, they also periodically participate in food binges similar or identical to those found in people with bulimia or binge-eating disorder. Like bulimics, but unlike individuals affected by binge-eating disorder, individuals with binge\/purge anorexia take special, unhealthy measures to rid themselves of the calories they take in during their binging behaviors. Connection Points In a study published in 2006 in The International Journal of Eating Disorders, a team of Canadian researchers used both subjective testing and objective testing to measure the level of impulsivity present in a group of women affected by classic anorexia, binge\/purge anorexia or bulimia. For the sake of comparison, the researchers also used the same testing methods to measure impulsivity levels in a group of women unaffected by any form of eating disorder. After reviewing their findings, the authors of this study concluded that, when compared to women unaffected by an eating disorder, women affected by classic anorexia, binge\/purge anorexia or bulimia all exhibit an impulsivity-related decline in the ability to focus attention. Women with binge\/purge anorexia and bulimia also exhibit increased levels of impulsivity-related muscle activity; in addition, bulimic women exhibit an increased tendency to act recklessly and\/or dangerously. In a separate study, published in 2009 in the journal European Eating Disorders Review, another team of Canadian researchers analyzed the results of 12 previous modern studies that examined the connection between impulsive behaviors and eating disorders. The authors of this analysis confirmed the link between impulsivity and eating disorders in general, as well as the link between impulsivity and eating disorder subtypes like binge\/purge anorexia. The authors also confirmed the need for both subjective and objective testing to identify the impulsive traits that appear in people diagnosed with eating disorders. In addition, they underscore the importance of addressing both disordered eating behaviors and impulsive behaviors in affected individuals. How Is Impulsive Behavior Linked to Eating Disorders? We Have the Answers If you want to learn more about the question, "How is impulsive behavior linked to eating disorders?" come to Lucida Treatment. We offer treatment for a variety of disorders, including: \tSubstance abuse disorders \tEating disorders \tOCD \tSchizophrenia To learn more, call today.