Compulsive behavior is defined as performing an act persistently and repetitively without it necessarily leading to an actual reward or pleasure. Compulsive behaviors could be an attempt to make obsessions go away. The act is usually a small, restricted and repetitive behavior, yet not disturbing in a pathological way. Compulsive behaviors are a need to reduce apprehension caused by internal feelings a person wants to abstain or control.
A major cause of the compulsive behaviors is said to be obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). “The main idea of compulsive behavior is that the likely excessive activity is not connected to the purpose to which it appears directed.”. Furthermore, there are many different types of compulsive behaviors including, shopping, hoarding, eating, gambling, trichotillomania and picking skin, checking, counting, washing, sex, and more. Also, there are cultural examples of compulsive behavior.
More information about this disorder can be found at WikiPedia.