In This Article
In This Article
Disruptive behavioral disorders are commonly known as behavioral disorders. Behavioral disorders are the most common in children, however there are adults who live with behavioral disorders. The behaviors and deficits are commonly observed at home, school and daycare settings.
Behaviors are defined as the way we act, including towards other individuals. The causes of behavior are often a combination of our thoughts, feelings and environment. Behavioral disorders often involve a person’s inability to control their actions and emotions.
Some behaviors are concerning because they violate the rights of others, which can lead to conflict. These behavior issues tend to go against accepted norms, which can lead to additional challenges.
Behavior problems can include a variety of concerns including inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, defiant behaviors, criminal activity as well as drug and alcohol use. Many wonder what hyperactivity is; it’s a constant need for activity and is also identified as being distracted easily.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9.4% of children between the ages of 2-17 are diagnosed with ADHD. Their studies have shown that 7.4% of children in the same age range are diagnosed with a behavioral disorder, and that 7.1% of children are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Behavioral issues in children are more common between the ages of 6 and 11 years.
There are five types of behavioral disorders that are influenced by the groupings in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5):
Behavioral Health is when we look at how behaviors and emotions impact our overall health. By studying behavioral health, professionals can better understand how behavioral disturbances impact a person.
When looking at behavior health vs. mental health, they are both included in a person’s overall well-being despite their differences. Behavioral health conditions can have a significant impact on a person’s functioning and lifestyle.
As noted earlier, behavior disorders often involve poor self-regulation of emotions and behaviors. With that being said, it is understandable that many of the signs and symptoms of behavioral issues are behaviors that seem abnormal, inappropriate or the lack of age-appropriate milestones for development. A child with behavioral problems likely finds themselves in trouble often due to symptoms.
When observing children’s behaviors, it is important to note that every child is different and will reach developmental milestones at varying rates. When thinking about children’s ability to cope and express emotions, it is valuable to consider the impact that their environment has.
How to cope and express emotions are learned behaviors, so if a child is not in an environment showing healthy ways to regulate emotions, they will likely struggle doing so themselves.
There are three main factors that contribute to the development of behavioral issues.
Families’ who fall below this threshold tend to have a harder time getting access to treatment for behavioral and mental health disorders. Another piece included in family factors for behavioral issues would be abuse. Child abuse would also fall into this category along with physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.
As previously mentioned, there are five categories for behavioral issues that are modeled after categories in the DSM-5.
Here are common diagnoses for each category of behavioral disorders:
Disorder, Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder,
PTSD and Adjustment Disorder
Disorder and Conduct Disorder
Disorder, Speech Sound Disorder, Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder
(Stuttering), Social Communication Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Specific Learning Disorder, Developmental Coordination Disorder and Tic Disorders
A common barrier that parents and professionals can experience is narrowing down the issue that children experience. Diagnosing involves asking questions, and if a child is unable to understand what they’re experiencing or explain what they are experiencing, this will cause difficulty with diagnosing. This can be especially relevant for Dissociative Disorders as well as young children.
Behavioral psychology is a field of research where we look at what leads to behaviors, both good and problematic, and see what can be done to influence the behaviors. Behavioral patterns psychology looks at the chains of behaviors that are present in different behavioral problems.
This research has helped us identify what approaches are best suited for behavioral mental health treatment.
The answer to what treatment is best is dependent on the issue that the child is facing, the child’s age and their level of comprehension. A goal of counseling for children is to meet them where they are. For children, this means communicating to them in a way that they can understand and participate in.
For many, if child behavior disorders are left untreated, additional challenges will present when the child is an adult. Severe behavior disorders are more likely to cause distress as a child ages.
There are programs that are developed for families to use at home with children to help with some behavioral issues such as anxiety, depression and oppositional defiant disorder. Brain Balance Achievement Centers would be one example.
Treatment for behavioral disorders in adults will likely not include treatment used for children such as Play therapy. Adults living with developmental disorders may benefit from day programs to assist with daily living skills and social interactions. Individual therapy is commonly used for adults with behavior problems.
There are several resources that can help with troubled children. One would be your Pediatrician. Your child’s doctor has likely had other patients with similar concerns and may know of child therapists and child psychologists in your area. They would also be aware of testing providers if this is necessary for a diagnosis.
Another resource would be your insurance company to get contact information for behavioral therapists near you.
If your child is in school, an additional resource would be the school counselor. A school counselor may be able to work with your child regarding some of the issues discussed. school counselors would also be aware of additional resources that the child may qualify for while at school.