Behavioral disorders refer to a group of disorders with symptoms that include various behavior problems. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, emotional and behavioral disorders affect around 13 percent of American children. However, children who are not treated may continue to suffer from behavioral disorders into adulthood. Consequently, their jobs and relationships may be affected.
What are Behavioral Disorders?
Behavioral disorders, also known as disruptive behavioral disorders, include a variety of disorders that manifest as child behavior issues. These behavioral problems typically involve a pattern of disruptive behaviors at school, at home, and in social situations, lasting for at least six months. Behavioral issues are the most common reason that parents seek mental health assessments and treatment for their children or teens.
The two most prevalent behavioral disorders are Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder. Additionally, other associated disorders include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, emotional disorders, and pervasive developmental disorders. The symptoms of behavioral disorders include inability to concentrate, hyperactivity, impulsivity, defiant behavior, aggression, self-isolation due to fear or anxiety, temper tantrums, and learning difficulties. Moreover, in teens, behavioral disorders may result in substance use, risky behavior, and criminal activity.
Experts believe that behavioral disorders are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. One effective treatment method is behavioral family therapy, in which the family learns how to support the child’s well-being and mental health. Furthermore, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, social skills training, and anger management therapy are also helpful for children and teens suffering from behavioral disorders. For some children and teens, medication can be used to supplement therapy sessions to help control impulsive behaviors.
Sources: National Institute of Mental Health, Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders, US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration