Behavioral disorders involve a pattern of behaviors that disrupt a child’s or adolescent’s life in school, with peers and at home. Some behavioral disorders – such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity – are symptoms of a mental disorder commonly diagnosed in young people: For example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Symptoms of a mental illness typically arise during adolescence, so it is important for parents to recognize the signs that their child needs professional help.
What Are Behavioral Disorders?
Different types of behavioral disorders affect children and adolescents. ADHD is a particularly common type of brain disorder diagnosed in young people that is characterized by an ongoing pattern of hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsive behaviors. For example, young people who have ADHD may have difficulty staying on task, fidget and move about constantly, interrupt others and/or act before they consider the long-term consequences of their actions.
It may be difficult for parents to recognize whether certain behaviors are normal, or a warning sign of a something more serious. Some of the warning signs of behavioral disorders include:
- Self-harm (e.g., cutting)
- Harming animals or other people
- Smoking, drinking or using drugs
- Problems with schoolwork
- Frequent arguments and/or tantrums
- Skipping school
Some behaviors – such as defiant or oppositional behavior, temper tantrums, unhealthy sleeping or eating habits, alcohol and drug use, and criminal activity during childhood and adolescence – may seem like just bad behavior, but can indicate that your teen is facing a more serious issue.
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