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Behavioural disorders

What are behavioural disorders, and what are the possible treatments?

Behavioural disorders - definition and symptoms

Definition of behavioural disorders

Children and adolescents can be aggressive or irritable from an early age or during adolescence. The infant may, for example, have bouts of anger.
However, behavioural disorders are distinguished from the norm by a high frequency, and a damaging impact on the daily life of the child and his family (school problems, difficulties with friends and classmates …)

Symptoms of behavioural disorders

There are several types of behavioural disorders:

  • oppositional provocative disorder: anger, irritability, tendency to argue or challenge, malice …

  • conduct disorder: attack of humans or animals, vandalism, lying, breaking rules

In order for an individual to be considered a victim of behavioural disorders, he or she must exhibit all of the following symptoms when interacting with people who are not his or her brother or sister:

  • frequent anger and irritability

  • tendency to argue and challenge authority

  • willful malice

Causes of behavioural disorders

There are likely to be a number of factors that may be causing behavioural problems:

  • Biological factors: certain behavioural disorders sometimes seem to be hereditary. Young people are more likely to have behavioural or learning disabilities if one or more family members have suffered from them.

  • Social factors: children living in families under high stress such as financial difficulties, exposure to violence, divorce, seem more likely to develop behavioural problems.

  • Psychological factors: children with behavioural problems may have mental health problems. The management of emotions, the level of activity and the ability to understand them can explain a vulnerability to certain behavioural disorders.

How to help a young person suffering from behavioural problems?

A specialist, such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist, will be able to diagnose behavioural problems in a child after a thorough assessment, including parents, teachers and close relatives. Family history should also be taken into account.
This in-depth diagnosis can then lead to personalized care, depending on the disorders diagnosed. This support may include behavioural therapies (individual or family), as well as drug treatments.