NJCMO Newsletter

Behavioral disorders are a category of mental health conditions that are characterized by challenging and disruptive behavior patterns. These patterns can involve problems with emotions, communication, or social interaction.

Behavioral disorders are very common in youth. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 9% of children aged 3-17 have a behavioral disorder. Behavioral disorders can cause significant problems at home, school, and with relationships. They often result in difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Common behavioral disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and conduct disorder (CD). Many behavioral problems can be traced back to early childhood, although they may not be formally diagnosed until later in life. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to help individuals dealing with behavioral disorders.

Symptoms of Behavioral Disorders

The symptoms of behavioral disorders can vary depending on the specific condition. However, there are some general symptoms that are often seen in individuals with these disorders. These include:

·         Problems paying attention or focusing on tasks

·         Difficulty following instructions

·         Frequent outbursts or episodes of anger

·         Acting impulsively without thinking about the consequences

·         Engaging in risky or destructive behaviors

·         Disobeying rules or authority figures

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone else, it is important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can diagnose a behavioral disorder and create a treatment plan to address the symptoms.

Causes of Behavioral Disorders

There is no single cause of behavioral disorders. Rather, they are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Some individuals may be more likely to develop a behavioral disorder due to their genes or family history. For example, children who have a parent or sibling with ADHD are more likely to develop the condition themselves. In some cases, medical problems may be a factor as well.

Environmental factors can also play a role in the development of a behavioral disorder. These include exposure to trauma, abuse, or neglect; witnessing violence; or growing up in a chaotic or unstable home environment. Poverty, social isolation, and stressful life events can also increase the risk of developing a behavioral disorder.

Treatments for Behavioral Disorders

There are a variety of treatment options available that can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning in individuals with behavioral disorders. The most effective approach depends on the person’s unique condition and symptoms.

One effective treatment is behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that aims to help people change their behavior and learn new skills to cope with their symptoms. It can also provide support and guidance during difficult times. 

Social skills training is designed to help people learn how to interact with others in a positive way. This can be helpful for individuals who have difficulty with social interactions or tend to act out impulsively. Social skills training can be done in a group or individual setting.

Another common treatment option for behavioral disorders is medication. Medications can help to stabilize mood, reduce impulsivity, and increase focus and attention. However, it is important to note that medication should not be used as the sole treatment for a behavioral disorder. Rather, it should be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, such as therapy.

There are many different types of therapy available, so it is important to find one that is right for you or your child.

How NJCMO Can Help Your Child

Care management organizations (CMOs) use a Wraparound model of care to help coordinate services for youth with complex healthcare needs, including behavioral health issues. 

This means CMOs provide targeted support and intervention services that are tailored to the specific needs of each child. In many cases, this can include working with families and schools to create individualized education plans (IEPs) or developing positive behavior support plans. It can also involve providing access to mental health services and other necessary resources. By taking a holistic and personal approach, CMOs can make a real difference in the lives of children with behavioral disorders and their families.

If you are a parent of a child with a behavioral disorder, you are not alone. Contact your local CMO today to learn more about how you can get support for you and your family.

Ways You Can Support Your Child

There are a variety of ways that you can support a child with a behavioral disorder. Some of the most important things that you can do include:

1. Providing structure and routines. Having set routines and expectations can help a child with a behavioral disorder feel more secure and in control. It can also help to prevent problem behaviors from happening in the first place.

2. Giving praise and reinforcement for desired behavior. This is one of the most important things you can do to support a child with a behavioral disorder. Praising or reinforcing desired behavior helps the child learn what types of behaviors are expected and appreciated.

3. Keeping calm and consistent. It’s important to remain calm when dealing with problem behaviors. Yelling or getting angry will only aggravate the situation and make it more difficult to manage the behavior. Instead, try to remain calm and consistent in your responses.

4. Seeking professional help. If you are struggling to manage your child’s behaviors, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. There are many resources available to families dealing with behavioral disorders. A professional can help you develop an effective plan to manage your child’s symptoms.


What are the most common behavioral disorders in children?

Behavioral disorders are a category of mental health conditions that are characterized by abnormal challenging and disruptive behavior patterns. These patterns can involve problems with emotions, communication, or social interaction.

How do I know if my child has a behavioral disorder?

If you notice your child is having difficulty following rules or instructions, acting impulsively or out of control, exhibiting aggressive or disruptive behaviors, or failing to perform up to their potential at school or in other activities, it may be time to seek professional help. 

A mental health professional can conduct an assessment to determine whether your child has a behavioral disorder and, if so, what type. Early intervention is often key in helping children with behavioral disorders reach their full potential.

What is the difference between a mental disorder and a behavioral disorder?

The main difference between a mental disorder and a behavioral disorder is that mental disorders typically involve much more than problem behaviors. 

Mental disorders are characterized by problems with thinking, feeling, and behaving that cause significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning. 

Behavioral disorders are characterized by recurrent problematic behaviors that may result in difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Someone with a behavioral disorder may behave in ways that are disruptive or undesirable, but they do not usually experience the changes in thinking and feeling that are typical of mental disorders.

Are there any long-term effects of childhood behavioral disorders?

There is evidence that suggests children who have behavioral disorders are at an increased risk for long-term problems, including mental health issues, addiction, and criminal behavior. For example, children with conduct disorder are more likely to engage in criminal activity as adults. 

Studies have also shown that children with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) are more likely to develop addiction problems later in life. And children with anxiety or depression disorders are more likely to experience mental health problems as adults.

Early intervention is often critical in helping children with behavioral disorders avoid these long-term problems. If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A mental health professional can assess your child’s symptoms and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

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