Types of Behavioral Disorders - PsychGuides.com (2023)

Types of Behavioral Disorders

ADHD, conduct disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) are some of the most common behavioral problems in children. Children with the inattentive type of ADHD struggle to focus and stay organized. 4 The impulsive/hyperactive type causes excessive movement, making it difficult for a child to sit still. Some children have the combined type of ADHD, which causes symptoms of inattention and impulsivity/hyperactivity.

Conduct disorder is a group of disorders characterized by emotional-behavioral problems. These problems stem from a disregard for other people. 5 A child with a conduct disorder may behave aggressively or engage in violence toward parents, siblings, or other family members. ODD causes a child to act in a defiant manner. Children with this condition have trouble following the rules and often treat other people with hostility. Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is less common than the other three, but it does affect some children. IED causes sudden outbursts of disruptive behavior, such as temper tantrums or high levels of irritability. 6

All of these behavioral problems cause conflict at home, at school, and in the community. In severe cases, a behavioral disorder may lead to property damage or harm caused to a person or an animal living in the home.

What Causes Behavioral Disorders?

Researchers haven’t identified a single direct cause of behavioral disorders, but genetic and social factors play a role. These disorders are much more common in children who have been exposed to violence or inconsistent parenting, demonstrating the importance of providing a safe, loving environment. 7

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The risk of behavioral disorders also increases in children whose parents have ADHD, depression, substance use disorders, and other mental health conditions. Behavioral problems may even be the result of structural changes in the brain. For example, in people with ADHD, changes to the prefrontal cortex may lead to forgetfulness, impulsivity, and other symptoms. 8

What Are the Symptoms of Behavioral Disorders? Signs to Know

Each behavioral disorder has a specific list of diagnostic criteria. Some criteria apply to several disorders, making it crucial for a mental health professional to conduct an assessment and make an appropriate diagnosis.

  • ADHD (inattentive type):Difficulty staying organized, forgetfulness, trouble following through on tasks, inability to focus 9
  • ADHD (impulsive/hyperactive type):Fidgeting, squirming, excessive talking, interrupting, running around during school
  • Conduct disorder:Bullying, truancy, stealing, lying, cheating, cruelty toward animals or people
  • ODD:Frequent arguing, temper tantrums, refusing to follow rules, irritability, vindictive behavior
  • IED:Angry outbursts, frequent tantrums, theft, property damage, defiance, aggressive behavior

Do I Have a Behavioral Disorder? How Are They Diagnosed?

A diagnostic evaluation is the first step in determining if a child has a behavior disorder. During this evaluation, an expert in childhood development gathers information about the child’s symptoms, medical history, and home environment. 10 The expert also observes the child’s posture, facial expressions, and gestures. After the assessment, a specialist works with the parents to help them understand their child’s behavior and explore potential treatment options.

What Is the Best Treatment for Behavioral Disorders?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), parent behavior therapy has the strongest evidence supporting its use as a treatment for behavioral disorders. 11 Parents who adopt this approach work with a trained therapist to learn helpful techniques for managing a child’s behavior.

Parent behavior therapy programs typically emphasize consistent discipline and positive reinforcement, giving children the opportunity to replace unwanted behaviors with more desirable ones. 12 Some programs have parents attend group sessions, rather than working one-on-one with a therapist. Addressing behavioral problems at a young age makes it easier to manage behavioral disorders in adults, making parent behavior therapy a helpful option.

How to Cope With a Behavioral Disorder Diagnosis

Children with these disorders should spend as much time as possible learning strategies to help them manage their symptoms. For example, using a planner or developing a homework routine can help children with ADHD stay focused. 13 Self-care is also important, although parents may need to help their children develop healthy habits. Quality sleep, well-balanced meals, and a calm environment can all make it easier to manage the symptoms of a behavioral disorder. Adults should consider talk therapy, support group meetings, and other methods of coping with a mental health diagnosis.

How to Help Someone with a Behavioral Disorder

Behavioral disorders are usually diagnosed in childhood, so it’s critical for parents and other family members to provide ongoing support. Parents can help by participating in parent behavior therapy and setting aside time to help a child learn strategies for symptom management.

Adults with these disorders also need support, although that support looks a bit different. For example, people with severe symptoms may benefit from having someone help them with household chores. If they don’t have to focus on chores, they can spend more time talking with a therapist or trying other treatment options. It’s also helpful for loved ones to give positive feedback and provide encouragement.


  1. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/behavioral-disorders
  2. https://academic.oup.com/cs/article-abstract/38/2/109/2392044
  3. https://www.juvjustice.org/our-work/safety-opportunity-and-success-project/national-standards/section-ii-efforts-avoid-court-1
  4. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/adhd/what-is-adhd
  5. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/conduct-disorders
  6. https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/disruptive-behavior-disorders-children
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/behavior.html
  8. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5391018
  9. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html
  10. https://nyulangone.org/conditions/behavioral-problems-in-children/diagnosis
  11. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/features/kf-disruptive-behavior.html
  12. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/behavior-therapy.html
  13. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/5-tips-to-manage-adhd-in-children

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What are the five 5 types of behavioral disorders? ›

Here are the five most common affecting Americans today:
  • Conduct disorder. ...
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) ...
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ...
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) ...
  • Behavioral addiction.

What is the 6 types of behavioral disorders? ›

Mental Health & Behavioral Disorders
  • Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ...
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder. ...
  • Eating Disorders. ...
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder. ...
  • Learning Disorders. ...
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. ...
  • Panic Disorder. ...

What are 4 Behavioural disorders? ›

  • BACK. Children's Mental Disorders.
  • Anxiety and Depression.
  • Behavior or Conduct Problems.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Home.

What are all the behavioral disorders? ›

Main page content
  • Inattention.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Defiant behavior.
  • drug use.
  • criminal activity.
Mar 11, 2022

What are the 7 common types of mental disorders? ›

Many people also experience stigma, discrimination and violations of human rights.
  • Anxiety Disorders. ...
  • Depression. ...
  • Bipolar Disorder. ...
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) ...
  • Schizophrenia. ...
  • Eating Disorders. ...
  • Disruptive behaviour and dissocial disorders. ...
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders.
Jun 8, 2022

What are the 12 types of mental disorders? ›

On this page
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Behavioural and emotional disorders in children.
  • Bipolar affective disorder.
  • Depression.
  • Dissociation and dissociative disorders.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Paranoia.

What are the 4 known behaviour types? ›

A study on human behavior has revealed that 90% of the population can be classified into four basic personality types: Optimistic, Pessimistic, Trusting and Envious.

What are the most common disruptive behavior disorders? ›

The most common types of disruptive behavior disorder are oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder. Children with oppositional defiant disorder display a persistent pattern of angry outbursts, arguments, and disobedience.

What are the 5 major psychiatric disorders? ›

Such disorders include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia. Symptoms can overlap and so distinguishing among these 5 major psychiatric syndromes can be difficult.

What are the 5 most rare mental disorders? ›

Rare Mental Health Disorders
  • Delusional Disorder. A delusion is a fixed but incorrect belief based on their interpretation of reality. ...
  • Related Issues. According to the APA, delusional disorder may affect . ...
  • Conversion Disorder. ...
  • Related issues. ...
  • Selective Mutism. ...
  • Related Issues. ...
  • Postpartum Psychosis. ...
  • Related Issues.

What are the DSM-5 classification of mental disorders? ›

The DSM-5 organizes mental disorders into the following chapters: Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders, Dissociative ...

What are the 10 most disabling mental illnesses? ›

Mood disorders (major depressive disorder, mania, and dysthymic disorder), anxiety disorders (post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, specific phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder), alcohol use disorder, illicit drug use disorder, intermittent ...

What are the 6 most common mental illnesses? ›

  • Bipolar Disorder.
  • Eating Disorders.
  • Major Depression.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Personality Disorders.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Suicide.

What is the list of mental disorders called? ›

The DSM is the American Psychiatric Association's standard reference for psychiatry, which includes over 450 different definitions of mental disorders.

What are the 10 types of human behavior? ›

The ten “types” are the Perceiver of Pain, the Ostraciser, the Tamer of Terror, the Beholder, the Aggressor, the Tribalist, the Nurturer, the Romancer, the Rescuer and the Kinsman.

What are the 5 behaviors in psychology? ›

The five broad personality traits described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

How many types of behavior are classified? ›

Three fundamental types of behaviour can be distinguished: the purely practical, the theoretical-practical, and the purely theoretical. These three types of behaviour have three different reasons: the first a determining reason, the second a motivating reason, and the third a supporting reason.

What are the most common emotional and behavioral disorders? ›

Mental health disorders (MHD) are very common in childhood and they include emotional-obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, depression, disruptive (oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) or developmental (speech/language delay, intellectual ...

What are common characteristics behavior disorders? ›

Aggression or self-injurious behavior (acting out, fighting); Withdrawal (not interacting socially with others, excessive fear or anxiety); Immaturity (inappropriate crying, temper tantrums, poor coping skills); and. Learning difficulties (academically performing below grade level).

What is the DSM 5 criteria for disruptive behavior disorder? ›

The following is a summary of these new DSM-5 diagnostic criteria: Diagnosis requires a failure to control aggressive impulses manifested by either: Verbal aggression like temper tantrums, tirades, arguments or fights; or physical aggression toward people, animals, or property.

What is the #1 most diagnosed mental disorder? ›

Depression. Impacting an estimated 300 million people, depression is the most-common mental disorder and generally affects women more often than men.

What is the hardest mental illness to live with? ›

Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPDs) become overwhelmed and incapacitated by the intensity of their emotions, whether it is joy and elation or depression, anxiety, and rage. They are unable to manage these intense emotions.

What are the 2 most common types of mental disorders? ›

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 1 in every 5 Americans is currently living with a mental illness. Of those, the three most common diagnoses are anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What are the 5 characteristics of emotional and behavioral disorders? ›

According to Boston Children's Hospital, some of the emotional symptoms of behavioral disorders include:
  • Easily getting annoyed or nervous.
  • Often appearing angry.
  • Putting blame on others.
  • Refusing to follow rules or questioning authority.
  • Arguing and throwing temper tantrums.
  • Having difficulty in handling frustration.

What are 5 serious mental illness? ›

SMI includes major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder (VA).

What is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder? ›

ADHD usually begins in childhood but may continue into the adult years. It is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children.

What are the 5 Ds of identifying a mental disorder? ›

A simple framework to intuitively understand what may constitute a mental illness is the 5Ds. Deviation, Duration, Distress, Dysfunction, and Danger.

What are the classification of behavioral and emotional disorders? ›

Types of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. There are several social emotional disorders and behavioral disorders which are relatively common in school age children. The types of common EBD this lesson will address are: anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and conduct disorder.

What are the different types of emotional and behavioral disorders? ›

Let's take a brief look at some of the most common of these.
  • Anxiety Disorders. ...
  • Bipolar Disorder. ...
  • Conduct Disorder. ...
  • Eating Disorders. ...
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. ...
  • Psychotic Disorders.
Nov 6, 2020

What are the 4 criteria for psychological disorders list and define? ›

One simple way to remember the criteria in defining psychological disorders are the four D's: deviance, dysfunction, distress, and danger (and possibly even a fifth D for the duration).

What are the top 10 worst mental disorders? ›

Here are the ten most common mental illnesses:
  • Anxiety disorders. This is actually a group of disorders. ...
  • Bipolar affective disorder. ...
  • Depression. ...
  • Dissociation and dissociative disorders. ...
  • Eating disorders. ...
  • Paranoia. ...
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder. ...
  • Psychosis.
Dec 6, 2021

What are the 10 personality disorders DSM V? ›

DSM-5 lists ten specific personality disorders: paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent and obsessive–compulsive personality disorder.

What are the three main types of mental disorders? ›

Of those, the three most common diagnoses are anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These three conditions make up around 30 percent of all diagnoses of mental illness in America.

How many types of mental disorders are recognized? ›

There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal.


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