Impulse Phobia: How To Understand It And Cure It

Last updated by Katie M.

“If I turn the wheel here all of a sudden, we’ll all have a fatal accident…” We’ve all had a thought like this while driving or not. It’s common to invent morbid scenarios. Only for some people, these ideas become unbearable anxieties. This is called impulse phobia and is translated into the fear of killing someone. How can you overcome it? All will be explained.

Impulse Phobia: How To Understand It And Cure It

What exactly is impulse phobia?

When suffering from impulse phobia, you have constant invasive thoughts about a violent act: insulting your teacher, kissing a stranger, jumping into the void. It can even be thoughts that are more shameful for the sufferer: strangling your baby, running over a pedestrian, killing your partner with a kitchen knife, etc.

An obsessive disorder

Psychiatrists consider sufferers to have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Indeed, Dr. Sauteraud explains that the phobia assumes that there is a phobic object (for example, spiders), whereas impulse phobia causes permanent suffering.

😥 Filled with anguish, the sufferer will isolate themselves for fear of harming those around them or committing an irreparable act.

Where does impulse phobia come from?

Natalia Koszegi, a research psychologist at the Research Center of the University Institute of Mental Health in Montreal, observed a major trait during her study. 50% to 60% of sufferers are affected by another psychological disorder, such as a mood disorder (63%) or a generalized anxiety disorder (76%). This illness is therefore often part of a whole that impacts the psychological well-being of the person affected.

Contributing factors

There are no clearly identifiable causes of impulse phobia, it varies from one sufferer to another. An emotional shock, a life change, a disturbing situation such as major stress at work, prolonged contact with an inflexible person… So many factors can trigger impulse phobia.

🍼 The appearance of this OCD has regularly been observed in women after childbirth. It’s difficult to live through the post-natal period serenely, and young moms are subjected to an emotional torrent combined with a drop in hormones. They’re therefore afraid of hurting their baby.

What are the symptoms of impulse phobia?

There are 3 types of impulse phobia in sufferers:

  • The fear of committing a violent act inadvertently;
  • The fear of having a fit of madness or an aggressive impulse and acting on it;
  • The fear of harming yourself.

It’s therefore not insignificant to have these thoughts in your mind. Sufferers are invaded by a panicked fear that will lead to several physical symptoms:

  • Shaking;
  • Palpitations;
  • Cold sweats;
  • Dizziness;
  • Nausea;
  • Crying;
  • Anxiety attacks;
  • Avoidance strategy: isolation and running away for fear of acting on it.

The trouble with living with impulse phobia

Suffering from this disorder is pure hell for those with it. They constantly have intrusive thoughts, which may revolve around physical or sexual assault. As a result of these types of thoughts, some sufferers think they’re crazy and really will act on them, when in fact they aren’t.

It’s a very anxiety-provoking situation where it’s difficult to lead a normal life 😣: cooking, working, traveling, driving, etc. The questioning is constant and thus gives rhythm to the sufferer’s life.

How can you cure this psychological disorder?

The invasive thoughts are shameful for the patient as they’re about violent punishable acts. This feeling of shame leads them to shut themselves away in silence and isolate themselves. Dr. Sauteraud explains that a person suffering from this OCD is 50% more “likely” to develop symptoms of depression.

Therapy to move forward

It’s important not to cut yourself off socially when you suffer from impulse phobia. You also need to see a professional, such as a psychologist, in order to realize that it’s just a fear and not a reality. In addition, a psychiatrist may prescribe medication such as antidepressants if the anxiety is uncontrollable. These will help the patient to manage their emotions better.

➜ However, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) remains the most suitable for this obsessive-compulsive disorder as it means the sufferer faces their obsessive thoughts. Medication can help, but you need to be accompanied on a deeper level to be completely cured.

Editor’s note: Don’t wait

As you’ll have realized, impulse phobia is very incapacitating on a daily basis, but fortunately, there are very effective therapies. You mustn’t wait and should quickly turn to a health professional in order to be cared for.
🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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