What do you call someone who reacts impulsively when faced with distressing circumstances? I would prefer a formal word that would be appropriate for essays.

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    You need better context to help answer this question. Could you provide an example sentence where it might be used? Acting impulsively seems quite normal in a distressing situation. – dwjohnston Apr 12 '16 at 0:37

An impulsive person acts without thought.

based on emotional impulses or whims; spontaneous

Whether there is a specific word for being impulsive due to anxiety is uncertain. People who are anxious often act impulsively, trying to soothe their anxiety rather than following reason.

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  • What do you call someone who acts sickly? Would that be a sick person? – Drew Apr 12 '16 at 2:29
  • @Drew - There are obviously times specific words exist. A malingerer acts 'sickly' when they want to deceive someone, often for money or to escape responsibility. Someone with Munchausen's acts 'sickly' for secondary gain. The ill may or may not act 'sickly' depending on their symptoms. Etc. The OP would like the proper word. Why don't you submit an answer? – anongoodnurse Apr 12 '16 at 2:42

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