What are disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs)?
DBDs are disorders in which children or teens have trouble controlling their emotions and behavior. Their behavior may be very defiant, and they may strongly conflict with authority figures. Their actions may be aggressive and destructive. All children have mild behavior problems now and then, but DBDs are more severe and continue over time.
DBDs can start when a child is young. Children or teens with a DBD who do not receive treatment often have serious behavior problems at home, at school, or both. They are also more likely to have problems with alcohol or drug use and violent or criminal behavior as they get older.
Examples of DBDs include oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and intermittent explosive disorder.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder - Children or teens with this disorder may have an angry or irritable mood much of the time. They may argue often and refuse to obey parents, caregivers, teachers, or others. They may also want to hurt someone they think has harmed them.
Conduct Disorder - Children or teens with this disorder may act aggressively toward people, animals, or both. They may bully or threaten someone, start physical fights, use weapons, hurt animals, or force sexual activity on others. They may also destroy property by fire or other means, lie often, or steal. They may stay out late at night, skip school, or run away from home. They may also lack compassion and not feel guilty about harming others.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder - Children or teens with this disorder may have outbursts of aggressive, violent behavior or shouting. They may have extreme temper tantrums and may start physical fights. They often overreact to situations in extreme ways and do not think about consequences. Outbursts happen with little or no warning. They usually last for 30 minutes or less. After the outburst, the child or teen may feel sorry or embarrassed.
How common are DBDs? What causes them?
DBDs are one of the most common types of behavioral disorders in children and teens.
- Out of every 100 children in the United States, about 3 of them have a DBD.
- More boys than girls have a DBD.
- DBDs are more common among children aged 12 years and older.
The cause of DBDs is not known. Things that increase the risk for a DBD include:
- Child abuse or neglect
- A traumatic life experience, such as sexual abuse or violence
- A family history of DBDs
Having a child or teen with a DBD can be very stressful for parents, caregivers, and the whole family. But, there are treatments that may help
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Many of the therapists who are members of the Brockport Mental Health Professionals Association work with children, teens, and their families who are dealing with Disruptive Behavior Disorder problems.
Future articles will describe treatment options.