Disruptive Behavior Disorders
Also known as: oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD).
What are disruptive behavior disorders?
Disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) are common behavioral and mental health disorders easily identified in children because they involve behaviors that are readily seen.
DBD includes two types:
- oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
- conduct disorder (CD)
They are often first noticed when they begin to interfere with school activities or family and friend relationships. DBD can resemble the clinical presentation of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD) as hyperactivity and impulsivity are features of all three (33% of ADD children have coexisting ODD and 2% have CD). They are however separate disorders though it has been suggested that ODD may lead to CD.
What causes disruptive behavior disorders?
The precise cause of disruptive behavior disorders is unclear. Risk factors include a family member with ADHD/ODD, depression or an anxiety disorder and environmental factors like stress in the home (from divorce, separation, abuse, parental criminality or series conflicts within the family). The disorders are also more likely to occur along with other conditions such as ADHD.
What are the symptoms of DBD?
Children with ODD lose their temper quickly, have temper tantrums, are physically aggressive particularly with other children, negative, argumentative, defiant, disobedient, steal and behave in other ways to show their hostility or resistance to authority figures. They tend to struggle in school and may have legal problems later in life. If symptoms worsen and become more extreme the child/adolescent is defined as having a Conduct disorder (CD).
Children/adolescents with CD are those that have a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior which violates the rights of others and where social rules are disregarded. They are seriously aggressive, destroy property, steal, run away from home, miss school, behave as a delinquent and have non-desired police contact.
What are care options for DBD in children and teens?
Therapy in the form of special behavior techniques (train the child to be aware of what causes his responses, and use coping techniques to prevent aggression) which be implemented at home or in school is important. Parent training, family therapy, school interventions and other therapy focused on helping the child change his or her behavior are of value. Medication may also play a role in helping children manage and improve their disruptive behavior.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: December 18, 2020 05:04 PM
Weekly Support Programs
8 week program. This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behavioral issues, including but not limited to ADHD. The weekly sessions teach innovative techniques to assist children with managing feelings, developing organization skills, maximizing their concentration abilities and socialization skills.
8 week program. Children and teens ages 7 to 17 are invited to join this small discussion group to learn how to make, cultivate and maintain friendships. Participants will learn basic conversational skills, and discuss the use of appropriate humor, how to electronically connect with others, and how to manage disagreements.
8 week program. Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence.
8 week program. This program is specifically designed to empower children ages 7-18 through complex sensory experiences. Each session is created to teach participants evidenced-based techniques to better manage pain and improve overall quality of life.
8 week program. This program is designed for teens ages 13-16 experiencing difficulties related to sleep, including daytime sleepiness, trouble waking in the morning, difficulty falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night. The goal of this group is to give teens the tools and strategies they need in order to get more sleep and better quality sleep.
Learn more about
Attention Deficit and Learning Disorders (ADHD)
Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD) is the most common behavioral disorder of childhood, affecting 3 to 7 percent of school-age children.
An adjustment disorder is an unhealthy, excessive behavioral or emotional reaction to a difficult life event, which may be occur suddenly or ongoing for some time.
Behavioral modification is a treatment method that attempts to change negative behaviors through the use of positive or negative reinforcement.
Family and group therapy are both forms of psychological counseling that involve multiple participants and can take many forms. Families can all go to therapy together to improve communication and address conflicts.