AT MAGNOLIA COUNSELING OF PEARLAND
HELP FOR BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS
A child would not be a child if they did not occasionally display unruly or defiant behaviors due to hunger, fatigue or simply an inability to communicate. When a child is continually “acting out” or inadequately reacts to everyday situations, however, it could be a sign of a behavioral disorder. As trained specialists in behavioral disorders, the Magnolia Counseling of Pearland providers are committed to helping parents get the help their children need.
WHAT IS A BEHAVIORAL DISORDER?
A behavioral disorder is characterized by extremely challenging behaviors that are outside the norm for a child’s age group. Oftentimes, these behaviors begin to affect a child’s personal and social development, impede learning, and cause alarming problems at home and school. It is not uncommon for a child with a behavioral disorder to also suffer from anxiety, depression, learning disabilities and more.
Where do we see behavioral issues the most?
Children acting out, fighting, lying, stealing
Difficulty in following rules
Aggressive Behavior that can harm others
Actions that put self or others in physical or emotional distress
Teens: sexual promiscuity, drug use, high conflict with social realm
What therapy looks like?
System help: Parenting, Boundary setting, Dealing with meltdowns
Coping skills for children to better self-regulate
Finding language and better communication
Parenting Groups: Psychoeducation and support
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for children/teens
Medication Management for some, referred out for best care
To give continual guidance and support
Normalize difficulty of challenging children/teen
Find strength in steps to understanding and connecting to your child/teen
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS?
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Easily angered, anger management issues
Constantly challenging authority figures, such as parents and teachers
Failure to obey rules
Deliberate efforts to aggravate others
Vengeful or spiteful attitude
Conduct Disorder (CD)
Fighting with and bullying others
Delinquent behaviors, such as shoplifting, breaking and entering, and vandalism
Aggression toward animals
Substance abuse at an early age
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Failure to follow instructions
DIAGNOSING BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS IN CHILDREN
Diagnosing a behavioral disorder is a difficult process that may include standardized questionnaires, interviews with the child and his/her parents and teachers, as well as a formal diagnosis by a pediatrician, psychiatrist or child psychologist. The first step is to evaluate the child’s living and learning environment to find stress factors that may be causing the disruptive behavior. Once other theories have been eliminated, a behavioral disorder is diagnosed based on criteria in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS
Left untreated, a behavioral disorder can have adverse effects on a child’s life, both in the short term and long term. Immediate repercussions can range anywhere from being repeatedly reprimanded by teachers to suspension or expulsion from school. Adults with a history of behavioral problems can lose their jobs, fail at marriage(s), and even face criminal charges. The earlier we intervene, the higher the chances that your child will grow into a healthy, well-mannered adult.
IS THERE A CURE FOR BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS?
Without a concrete cause, studies have yet to pinpoint a permanent cure for chronic behavioral problems. Fortunately, emotional and behavioral disorders can be effectively managed through talk therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), traditional psychotherapy, parental education, social training, anger management and/or behavioral medications/drugs*.
* Please note that medications may have side effects, including insomnia, loss of appetite, increased suicidal thoughts, adverse long-term effects and more.
Parental cooperation is key to the treatment of behavioral disorders in children. Parents must maintain a regular flow of communication with their child’s therapist to help maintain progress. Under the right conditions, up to 80% of patients, even the most severe, show significant improvement with treatment.
If you suspect that your child suffers from a behavioral disorder, please do not hesitate to contact MCP today. One of our behavioral specialists will be happy to address your concerns and create an appropriate treatment plan for your child’s individual needs.