Impulsivity is the tendency to act on impulse -- that is, without forethought about the appropriateness or consequences of the action. A certain degree of impulsivity is common in children and even some young adults often display impulsivity of behavior. Only when present to excess and accompanied by problems with normal function is impulsivity considered abnormal in young children. Impulsivity can be manifested in an action or in interrupting a discussion, blurting out answers, or the inability to wait one's turn at an activity. Impulsivity is often observed in those who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can affect adults as well as children and teens. Impulsivity is often accompanied by symptoms such as restlessness, hyperactivity, inattention, problems doing quiet activities, problems with executive function, talking excessively, and fidgeting. Impulsivity can, less commonly, be related to medical problems that interfere with an individual's cognitive function, such as stroke or dementia.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
ADHD in Children: Better Parenting
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder seen in children. Parents can learn tips and techniques to...
ADHD Symptoms in Children
What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? Learn to recognize ADHD symptoms in children....
ADHD/ADD in Adults: Symptoms & Treatments in Pictures
Most people don't associate adults with the term ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) but it is a common disorder in...
Adult ADHD Quiz: Symptoms & Test
What are the symptoms of adult ADHD? Take this quiz to learn what it means for an adult to suffer from ADHD and what can be done...
Adult ADHD: Organization and Time-Management Tips in Pictures
Learn daily living tips for adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). If you have ADHD or you just need to get...
Childhood ADHD Quiz: Test, Symptoms & Medication
Find out causes, symptoms, and treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a widespread behavioral condition...
Causes of Impulsivity
13 Tips for Parenting a Teen With ADHD
Parenting a teenager who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be challenging. Parents can use specific...
7 Alzheimer's Disease Stages and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease depend on the stage of the disease. Some doctors and researchers disagree in regard...
Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
About 2%-6% of adults have ADHD, a common behavioral problem. Symptoms include impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention....
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as...
Alzheimer's disease is a common cause of dementia. Symptoms and warning signs of Alzheimer's disease include memory loss,...
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) has many symptoms, signs, and causes. Therapy is one treatment option for antisocial...
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems,...
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Teens
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in teens is a disruption of neurocognitive functioning. Genetics contribute to...
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment...
Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a disorder that causes unusual and extreme mood changes. Symptoms of bipolar...
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal...
Childhood ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes the following symptoms in children: excessive activity, problems...
Dementia is defined as a significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with...
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and...
Huntington's disease is the result of degeneration of neurons in areas of the brain. Huntington's disease is an inherited...
Mania vs. Hypomania
Mania is an episode of irritable or euphoric mood and heightened energy that typically lasts a week and severely affects the...
Parenting a Child With ADHD
ADHD is a behavioral condition with characteristics that include hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Parenting a child...
Parkinson's Disease (Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Stages, Treatment)
Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest,...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include...
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...
Stroke (Signs, Symptoms, Warning Signs)
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding...
Teen Drug Abuse
Drugs commonly abused by teens include tobacco products, marijuana, cold medications, inhalants, depressants, stimulants,...
Tourette syndrome is disorder, which symptoms include involuntary facial tics, motor tics, and vocal tics. The cause of Tourette...
Other Causes of Impulsivity
- Smith-Magenis Syndrome