Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders
Children of all ages have trouble getting along with others or acting out against rules set by adults sometimes. These behaviors may warrant a behavioral disorder diagnosis if they are atypical for someone the child’s age, don’t get better with time, or are particularly severe.
Disruptive, impulse-control and conduct disorders involve demonstrating unwanted behavior towards others and “acting out” in multiple contexts (e.g., like home and school). Some diagnoses in this category include Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and Conduct Disorder.
When behavioral concerns become apparent for a child, it is important for the child to be evaluated by a health professional as soon as possible to determine appropriate interventions. A mental health professional can help to determine whether behaviors like acting out in school are part of a disruptive, impulse-control, or conduct disorder as opposed to ADHD or learning difficulties.
Treatment for young children with behavioral challenges often involves parent training to learn how to strengthen the parent-child relationship and to set and enforce limits for wanted vs. unwanted behaviors. Treatment for older, school-age children typically involves a combination of parent, individual, and school-based interventions.