Disruptive behaviors: description, causes and associated disorders

One of the normal phenomena that appears in a person’s vital development, especially in childhood and adolescence, is the need to challenge authority. But what may first be considered an act specific to age or circumstances may hide altered behavior.

When these challenges to authority are accompanied by other behaviors considered antisocial, we can consider them as disruptive behaviors. Throughout this article, we will analyze their characteristics as well as their possible causes and the psychological disorders with which they are associated.

    What are the disruptive behaviors?

    Traditionally, we understood as disruptive behaviors all those actions or behaviors considered as antisocial because of differ from accepted models of social behavior and values.

    In addition, these behaviors are perceived as a threat to the harmony, concord and peace of society and even a risk for the survival of all. These behaviors manifest themselves in acts of hostility and provocation which encourage disorder and the eruption of routines and activities both individually and socially.

    Although these behaviors they can occur in a person of any ageIsolated and ad hoc or caused by a fact or situation that has a significant impact or trauma for the person, there are a number of behavioral disorders in which these behaviors constitute some of the main symptoms.

    According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), these disorders can be classified in the group of disruptive impulses and behavioral control disorders, Which include both childhood and adolescent and adult disorders.

    The group of behavioral disorders characteristic of children and adolescents is defined by the presence of continuing disruptive behaviors. These behaviors include all kinds of hostile and provocative behavior of some minors towards any type of authority figure.

    If it is common and appropriate for the development of the child, that children go through periods when they are trying to find where they are at the limit of their negative behaviorsChildren with some type of disruptive behavior disorder take these acts and behaviors to the extreme, reaching to affect their daily lives as well as the lives of those around them.

    In this DSM classification of disruptive disorders, we find the following disorders:

    • Challenging the negativist disorder
    • Intermittent explosive disorder

    • Behavior disorder
    • Antisocial personality disorder
    • Pyromania
    • Cleptomania.

    What are the signs or symptoms?

    While it is true that each of the diagnostic categories described above has its own clinical picture with all kinds of distinctive symptoms, there are a number of symptoms or warning signs which can guide us to detect if a person suffers or develops any of the above behavioral disorders, especially if they are children.

    We can classify these signs into three different groups: behavioral symptoms, cognitive symptoms, psychosocial symptoms.

    1. Behavioral symptoms

    These are basically the following.

    • social isolation
    • Harassing behavior towards others.
    • Tendency to negative behavior.
    • Theft or theft of pipes.
    • Destruction or intentional damage to the property of others, public or private.
    • Tendency to blame others.
    • Actively challenge authority.
    • Refusal to comply with rules or regulations.
    • Animal cruelty samples.
    • Tendency to play with fire.

    2. Cognitive symptoms

    These are the usual cognitive symptoms.

    • Concentration problems.
    • Frequent feelings of frustration.
    • Memory malfunction.
    • Inability or difficulty thinking before speaking.
    • Difficulties in solving problems.

    3. Psychosocial symptoms

    These are the most relational aspects of this psychological phenomenon.

    • Lack of empathy.
    • Lack of remorse.
    • Sense of grandeur.
    • Persistent negativity.
    • Constant and persistent irritability.
    • Low self-esteem.

    What causes this type of behavior?

    As with symptoms, each disruptive behavior disorder has its own set of causes. However, there are a number of risk factors that promote the onset and development of these disruptive behaviors. Among them we find:

    • Exposure to violence.
    • Family history of mental illness or addiction.
    • Domestic violence.
    • Suffering from abuse and / or neglect.
    • Poor or inconsistent parenting.

    Disorders associated with disruptive behavior

    As we mentioned, disruptive behaviors they do not necessarily have to be associated with a psychological disorder. However, when these appear persistently and accompanied by other symptoms, if there is a possibility that it is one of the disruptive behavior disorder.

    1. Contestation of negative disorder (TND)

    Difficult negativist disorders are defined by the appearance in children of a pattern of negative, provocative, disobedient and hostile behavior towards authority figures.

    A child with TND can constantly argue with adults, very easily lose control of their emotions, refuse to follow rules, continually annoy others, and behave in an angry, resentful and vengeful manner. In these cases, it is very common for the child to cause constant conflict and disciplinary situations both at school and at home.

    In a large proportion of cases, without early diagnosis and treatment, the symptoms of difficult negativist disorder worsen over time and sometimes become severe enough to trigger a diagnosis of behavioral disorder.

    2. Intermittent explosive disorder

    This behavioral disorder is a psychological disorder in which the person exhibits a random pattern of disruptive, aggressive and disproportionate behavioral responses. In most cases, these are caused or brought about by a specific reason, or without apparent purpose; reach to cause serious damage to the social environment of the person and in himself.

    3. Behavior disorder

    Behavioral disorder is a more serious version of difficult negativity disorder. Defined by the DSM itself as a pattern of repetitive and persistent behavior in which the person violates the fundamental rights of others, As well as the main social norms related to the age of the subject.

    This disorder can even involve serious assaults on people or damage to animals, willful destruction of property or vandalism, theft, missing classes, and attempting to circumvent social norms without getting caught.

    4. Antisocial personality disorder

    In this case, the clinical picture is very similar to that of conduct disorder but with the requirement that it can only be diagnosed in people over 15 years of age. In addition to the behaviors listed in the previous diagnosis, antisocial personality disorder there are also other disruptive behaviors such as

    • Lack of adaptation to social norms and legality.
    • Impulsivity.
    • Inability to take responsibility.
    • Careless for his own safety or that of others.

    5. Pyromania

    Popularly known as arsonists, these subjects exhibit behaviors that are distinguished by the repetition of acts or attempts to cause or burn, Without any apparent purpose or motivation, both for foreign ownership and for any type of object.

    6. Cleptomania

    Finally, the last of the psychological disorders of which disruptive behavior is one of the main symptoms is kleptomania.

    In him, the person manifests repeated conduct of theft or appropriation of what is not. What distinguishes this disorder from the usual act of theft is that the person is not seeking to get rich or to obtain material goods, but rather that the moment of theft is in itself an end.

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