What is Impulsive Lifestyle Counseling?

Links to other resources: Residential Treatment, Detox, Type D Personalities

According to the “Criminal Lifestyles Curriculum” by Matthew D. Geyer, Impulsive Lifestyle Counselling (ILC) is a brief psychoeducational program developed for people with coexisting antisocial personality disorder  and substance use disorders. At the best drug and alcohol rehabs in Florida, including at Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center in Panama City, it is very common to treat patients with drug and alcohol addiction and other mental health challenges. Antisocial Personality Disorder is one of the most challenging of those co-occurring disorders.

The program described by Dr. Geyer is offered in six one-hour sessions and was tested as an addition to outpatient substance abuse treatment, where it was found to improve retention in treatment and reduce substance abuse compared with treatment as usual (TAU). Impulsive Lifestyle Counselling supports a process in which antisocial personality disorder gradually stops being a diagnosis of exclusion and increasingly becomes a diagnosis that is used to identify helpful programs and interventions. The aim of Impulsive Lifestyle Counselling is to offer a psychoeducational intervention for persons with antisocial personality disorder that makes a difference in their lives by offering a low-cost intervention that can be conducted by the existing staff at a range of services, including homeless shelters, outpatient community substance abuse treatment centers, mental health facilities, social service centers, and within the criminal justice system. The best drug and alcohol rehabs and treatment centers in the United States could greatly benefit from a proven treatment method for some of the most difficult co-occurring disorders.

A New Treatment for Antisocial Personality While in Rehab

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is characterized by a pervasive disposition to disregard and disrupt the rights of others, frequent violations of the law, impulsivity, and hostility. It is strongly linked to having deviant peers and offending others. While the disorder often improves with time, many people continue to experience related problems well into late adulthood. ASPD is often a complex condition and is highly comorbid with other disorders such as anxiety and addiction to drugs and alcohol. Because of the many challenges and common disruptions that come from the presence of a person with ASPD in treatment, people with this co-occurring disorder are often not accepted to treatment at the best drug and alcohol rehabs. This makes it almost impossible to effectively treat the substance abuse problems that are being exacerbated by the antisocial personality disorder. If the person with ASPD can get into a drug and alcohol treatment program, these programs often lack the resources and formal training to deal with the ASPD.

This is where a new treatment protocol could be valuable, and this is a primary aim of Impulsive Lifestyle Counseling. According to research from Aarhus University in Denmark, there has been very little previous work on this area of study, but the studies that have occurred show promising results. Many experts indicate that the most important criteria for a successful intervention to treatment antisocial personality and addiction is whether or not the patient breaks the law again after treatment. So future studies looking at programs like Impulsive Lifestyle Counseling should attempt to track arrests after discharge from rehab. One key of Impulsive Lifestyle Counseling is explaining to participants exactly what is meant by “Impulsive”. In the case of people with this type of co-occurring disorder, relapse back into substance abuse and negative contact with police and the justice system are the two primary focuses of counseling.

In the second of six total sessions, patients are introduced to the Triggers-Actions-Consequences model that aims at supporting them in linking their behavior to immediate adverse consequences, such as loss of a partner and incarceration. The model has shown promise in the past, but the past research has neglected to follow patients after discharge from treatment in order to track arrests and relapses. It will be important for more studies in the future to look at the methodology of Impulsive Lifestyle Coaching in an inpatient drug and alcohol rehab environment while also continuing to follow patients and measure success based on reduction in impulsive behaviors. If more of the best drug and alcohol rehabs in Florida, including Florida Springs in Panama City, could effectively treat more patients with serious co-occurring disorders it would be much easier to begin to get a handle on the addiction epidemic currently unfolding in our state.

By T.A. Cannon



American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). 2013. https://doi-org.ezproxy.frederick.edu/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596 .

“Criminal Lifestyles Curriculum” by Dr. Matthew Geyer

“Impulsive Lifestyle Counselling versus treatment as usual to reduce offending in people with co-occurring antisocial personality disorder and substance use disorder: a post hoc analysis.” Aarhus University, Denmark. 2022