Disruptive Behavior Disorders Overview

Disruptive Behavior Difficulties in Youth

Image Click Here to watch Dr. Pelham's video on ADHD in children

Image Click Here to watch Dr. Eddy's video on conduct problems in children

Among the most common difficulties in children and adolescents, disruptive behavior problems can cause academic, social, and emotional difficulties, as well as substantial family stress. These problems frequently overlap, and if left untreated can lead to additional academic, social, emotional, occupational, financial, and legal problems. Fortunately, our center offers a number of effective therapeutic programs that can help. If your child is experiencing any of the difficulties listed below, call us at 305-348-0477 or request information at ccf@fiu.edu to learn more.

To learn more about recognizing and treating disruptive behavior in children, please follow these links to watch brief interviews with experts on ADHD and on conduct problems.

Common Disruptive Behavior Disorders

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – ADHD is the most common mental health problem of childhood and is a chronic medical condition that persists from childhood through adolescence and adulthood. Children and teems with ADHD have trouble sustaining focus, organizing their activity, remaining seated when appropriate, acting before thinking, waiting their turn, and frequently interrupting others in conversations or games. Children with ADHD show developmentally inappropriate levels of these behaviors across home and school settings, often resulting in serious disturbances in their relationships with parents, teachers, peers, and siblings, as well as academic problems.
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) – ODD may look different in each child, but children (as young as 3) and adolescents with ODD display frequent, defiant, argumentative, and negative behaviors. These challenging behaviors are usually present in a variety of settings, such as home and school. Children and adolescents with ODD often seem angry and can be disruptive and disrespectful toward others, including refusing to follow the rules or request of adults, doing things to deliberately annoy others, arguing with adults, having sudden or unprovoked anger and/or temper outburst, and doing things to purposely get back at other people. However, their behaviors are typically not dangerous, destructive, criminal, or aggressive (see information below on Conduct Disorder). It is not uncommon for children with ODD to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and have a history of early behavioral difficulties. Some children with ODD may go on to develop behaviors associated with Conduct Disorder as they transition from childhood into adolescence.
  • Conduct Disorder (CD) – Children and teens with CD often violate rules and the basic rights of others. CD may look slightly different in each child, but typically consists of symptoms caused by aggression, and are dangerous, destructive, and sometimes criminal in nature. These kids frequently initiate fights, bully, or threaten other kids, adults, or animals. They may deliberately destroy other’s property, steal, lie, skip school, and stay out after their specified curfew. Additionally, these kids and teens may appear not to care about their actions, often lacking remorse or guilt about what they have done. The behavior pattern is usually present in a variety of settings, such as home, school, or community. It is not uncommon for children with CD to be diagnosed with ADHD and have a history of early problems related to Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).