Skip to content

Impulsive vs Compulsive

“Impulsive vs Compulsive.” We can define impulsive behavior as acting without seeing or predicting the consequences of the act. We can define compulsive behavior as a conscious act, and it is premediated. Both types of behaviors can cause serious mental issues for some people. Not for all, but some are suffering from mental issues led by impulsive or compulsive behaviors. It is highly essential to understand impulsive vs compulsive.

Impulsivity meaning

What does impulsive mean? We can define impulsive behaviors as unplanned reactions to a stimulus (Internal or external) without concern regarding the consequences. (Negative or positive). These behaviors are poorly conceived. They often result in negative consequences.  Here we simply act and think about the outcomes when it is too late. Most impulsive behaviors lead to negative consequences. That’s the impulsivity definition.

Examples of Impulsive behaviors

The impulsive disorder includes the following things. Most of the impulsive behaviors cause negative consequences to them and the people around them. Treatments for these kinds of people is vital. Most of the time, we can see impulsive behaviors in adults and teens.

  • Bullying others and harming
  • Damaging properties
  • Driving recklessly
  • Blaming and creaming at others
  • Get into fights with others
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unsafe sex
  • Compulsive shopping

Compulsivity meaning

We can define compulsive behavior as a conscious act. Some people think like this,” If I don’t do this, something terrible will happen.” That feeling leads to compulsive behaviors. These behaviors are hard to control, and they are repetitive. The person thinks that there will be bad outcomes if he doesn’t do the action. But actually, there is no special outcome as he thinks. This becomes a disorder when a person highly concerns about things that serve no purpose. Also, a person does this behavior even he knows that there are harmful consequences. He repeats the same action. Those actions are led by fears, uncontrollable thoughts.

Example of compulsive behaviors

On the one hand, compulsive behaviors can make a person safe. But when these behaviors happened excessively, it turns into a mental disorder. People act more consciously even that act doesn’t serve a purpose. We can define this disorder as “Thinking and doing too much.”

  • Double-checking everything excessively (Locks, messages)
  • Excessive cleaning behaviors
  • Doing meaningless things to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Following a tight schedule
  • Checking safety repeatedly

Impulsive vs Compulsive

impulsivity vs compulsivity is an important topic that we must know. There are plenty of people who are suffering from one or both disorder behaviors. Impulsive behaviors are easy to Identify. But compulsive behaviors are not. A person with compulsive disorder behaviors can hide his/her act. But that persons still suffer.

Some compulsive behaviors include impulsive behaviors too. Suppose a person try drugs and alcohol as an experiment. That person starts his action to serve a purpose. With time his body realizes that action can make him feel better and well. Eventually, it converts into an addiction, which is compulsive behavior. He may get used to driving recklessly, getting into fights, and having unsafe sex activities because of this behavior. Those are impulsive behaviors. Accordingly, these two types of behaviors have a connection.

Impulsive vs compulsive behaviors -Causes

What can cause impulsivity

Impulsivity is not a disorder if it lasts for a shorter period. When we can see those behaviors over and over, we can define that as an impulsive disorder behavior. It’s mostly seen in adults and teens. But researchers have found that even kids are suffering from this. These are the root causes of this disorder.

  • Lack of sleep is one reason. It eventually leads to stress and frustration and then to impulsive behaviors.
  • ADHD stands as the main cause of impulsive behavior. ADHD and impulse control have a long connection. This makes a person hard to control his/her feelings. Both adults and kids have ADHD.
  • Apart from these two causes, many other situations can give rise to impulsive behaviors. Mood disorder, drug, and other addictions, personality issues, heredity, environment, Fear, etc can increase impulsive behaviors.

What can cause compulsivity

There are no exact causes of compulsive disorder behaviors. But researchers have built up some theories to understand the behaviors. They are mentioning three factors that influence compulsive behaviors.

  • Learning is the first one. One person may learn from others by watching them. We call this social learning. Compulsive behaviors may be a consequence of learning compulsive behaviors from others.
  • Experiences are the other one. Suppose a person loses someone which he loved most. That might cause a mental breakdown. Eventually, that person might become a person who afraid of losing loved ones. He/she might try to check the safety excessively.
  • The third one is biological and genetic factors. One might practice compulsive behaviors due to a recent change in his body’s chemistry, hormones, etc. Otherwise, some genetic components might lead him/her to compulsive behaviors.
  • Apart from those, stressful situations experienced, family issues, etc. might lead a person to compulsive behaviors.


When explaining impulsive vs compulsive, we abled to conclude that both behavior types are not disorders at first. But when those happen repetitively and caused negative consequences, it becomes a disorder. If you or your relations suffer from these, it is highly important to consult a professional and get treatments.



I'm a freelance content writer who has written about business, lifestyle, relationships, cryptocurrency and forex and more.View Author posts