A child would not be a child if they did not occasionally display unruly or defiant behaviors, be it due to hunger, fatigue or simply an inability to communicate. However, when a child is continually “acting out” or inadequately reacts to everyday situations, it could be a sign of behavioral disorders.
As trained specialists in behavioral disorders in Rexburg, ID, the Integrated Counseling, and Wellness team are committed to helping parents get their children the help that they need.
What is a Behavioral Disorder?
A behavioral disorder is characterized by extremely challenging behaviors that are outside the norm for a child’s age group. Oftentimes, these behaviors begin to affect a child’s personal and social development, impede learning, and cause alarming problems at home and school. It is not uncommon for a child with a behavioral disorder to also suffer from anxiety, depression, learning disabilities and more.
What are the Types of Behavioral Disorders?
A summary of common behavioral disorders are as follows:
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
- Easily angered
- Temper tantrums
- Constantly challenging authority figures, such as parents and teachers
- Failure to obey rules
- Deliberate efforts to aggravate others
- Low self-esteem
- Vengeful or spiteful attitude
Conduct Disorder (CD)
- Fighting with and bullying others
- Frequent lying
- Delinquent behaviors, such as shoplifting, breaking and entering, and vandalism
- Lighting fires
- Aggression towards animals
- Substance abuse at an early age
- Sexual promiscuity
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Difficulty focusing
- Impulsive behaviors
- Constant restlessness
- Interrupting others
- Failure to follow instructions
What Causes Behavioral Disorders?
Despite decades of research, there is still no known cause for behavioral disorders. However, studies show that problematic behaviors are linked to biological, familial and social factors.
Known risk factors include:
- Being male
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Difficult temperament
- Dysfunctional family
- Learning difficulties
- Intellectual disabilities
Diagnosing Behavioral Disorders in Children
Diagnosing a behavioral disorder is a difficult process that may include standardized questionnaires, interviews with the child and his/her parents and teachers, as well as a formal diagnosis by a pediatrician, psychiatrist, or child psychologist. The first step is to evaluate the child’s living and learning environment to find stress factors that may be causing the disruptive behavior.
Once other theories have been eliminated, a behavioral disorder is diagnosed based on criteria in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Behavioral Disorders
Left untreated, a behavioral disorder can have adverse effects on a child’s life both in the short term and long term. Immediate repercussions can range anywhere from being repeatedly reprimanded by teachers to suspension or expulsion from school. Adults with a history of behavioral problems can lose their jobs, failing marriage(s), and even face criminal charges.
As with any other problem, the earlier the intervention, the higher the chances that your child will grow into a healthy, even-tempered adult.
Is There a Cure for Behavioral Disorders?
Without a concrete cause, studies have yet to pinpoint a permanent cure for chronic behavioral problems. Fortunately, emotional and behavioral disorders can be effectively managed through,
- talk therapy,
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Treatment (CBT),
- other therapeutic methods, such as traditional psychotherapy,
- parental education,
- social training,
- anger management, and/or
- behavioral medications/drugs*.
* Please note that medications may have side effects, including insomnia, loss of appetite, increased suicidal thoughts, and more.
Parental cooperation is key to the treatment of behavioral disorders in children. Parents must maintain a regular flow of communication with their child’s therapist to help progress be maintained. Under the right conditions, up to 80% of patients with even the most severe behavioral issues show significant improvement with treatment.
If you suspect that your child suffers from a behavioral disorder and you live in Rexburg or a nearby area, please do not hesitate to contact Integrated Counseling and Wellness today. One of our behavioral specialists will be happy to address your concerns and create an appropriate treatment plan for your child’s individual needs.