A behavioral disorder is a general term that defines a pattern of unhealthy, disruptive or problematic behaviors. Unlike certain mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression, a person with a  behavioral disorder outwardly expresses emotional pain or stress. Behavior disorders can greatly impact a person’s ability to navigate daily life and get along with others.

If behavioral issues negatively impact your ability to maintain relationships and live a balanced life, it’s important to seek professional help. At Advanced Psychiatry Associates, we provide comprehensive treatment for behavioral problems in adults and teenagers over 14.

Types of Behavioral Disorders

Behavior disorders typically develop in childhood and may continue into adulthood if left untreated. While not every problematic behavior indicates a disorder, if the behaviors are disruptive or impulsive, frequent, severe and persist for some time, there may be a deeper issue.

Behavior disorders include:

1. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed childhood behavior disorder. It also impacts the lives of many adults. It’s characterized by inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity — all of which must fall out of the typical range for a person’s age to be considered ADHD.

Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention to details
  • Trouble staying seated or still
  • Difficulty controlling impulsive behavior

2. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Oppositional defiant disorder describes frequent and persistent anger and a pattern of defying authority figures. ODD can cause serious consequences in school and relationships. If left untreated, it may lead to a conduct disorder diagnosis later on.

Symptoms include:

  • Quickly losing temper or feeling angry or annoyed
  • Refusing to comply with rules and often arguing with parents and teachers
  • Seeking revenge on others or acting spiteful

3. Conduct Disorder

Conduct disorder typically involves acting defiantly and aggressively toward others. Conduct disorder is diagnosed in childhood, though its symptoms can carry into adulthood. Adults who display conduct disorder symptoms might be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

Signs of conduct disorder include:

  • Lying or stealing
  • Acting aggressively toward other people or animals
  • Destroying or vandalizing others’ property
  • Blaming others for harmful behaviors or showing no remorse

4. Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent explosive disorder is defined by a pattern of angry outbursts that may involve violent behavior. Although the symptoms of this disorder may become less severe as a person ages, this condition can continue through a person’s life if left untreated. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling angry or irritable most of the time
  • Experiencing physical symptoms like heart palpitations or chest tightness before an outburst
  • Having sudden explosive behaviors that may involve threatening or harming others or damaging property

What Causes Behavioral Disorders in Adults?

While many behavioral disorders begin in childhood, adults can also experience behavioral issues for various reasons. Often, there isn’t a single cause for a behavioral problem at any age. However, some factors can contribute to having behavioral problems as an adult, such as:

  • Never seeking treatment for a childhood behavioral disorder
  • Experiencing trauma, stress, grief, financial hardship or relationship problems
  • Having a mental health, substance use or personality disorder
  • Having a disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, that affects behavior

If you’re struggling to understand what you’re going through or why you behave a certain way, it’s OK. You do not need to figure out the root cause of your behaviors alone. Almost everyone makes mistakes and acts inappropriately on occasion. This can make it challenging to tell whether behavioral problems have a deeper root cause. A trained professional at Advanced Psychiatry Associates can evaluate your symptoms, offer a diagnosis and discuss treatment options.

When to Get Treatment for Behavioral Disorders

Treatment for behavior problems has the potential to benefit people with both severe and mild behavioral concerns. Treatment methods are designed to support people whose behavioral issues stem from many different mental health disorders and environmental conditions, so anyone who has a pattern of behavior problems can see positive change during and after treatment.

A few signs that you may benefit from treatment include:

  • Your behavior makes it difficult to function in school, in the workplace or around others.
  • You have thoughts of harming yourself or others or a pattern of doing so.
  • You have developed problems with substance abuse.
  • You feel isolated from others and withdrawn from your social groups.
  • You act impulsively and struggle to control your behavior, even if you know it’s harmful.

Getting help immediately is important if you or your loved one harms yourself or others. We’re here for you at Advanced Psychiatry Associates.

Treatment Options for Behavioral Disorders in Adults

No one should have to struggle with behavioral problems and their effects alone. We provide a variety of individualized treatment options for patients with behavioral disorders.

Once we have determined a diagnosis for your behavioral problems, we will recommend treatment strategies tailored to your needs. These can include:

  • Medication: Medication helps relieve symptoms related to a behavioral or mental health disorder. A psychiatrist will determine effective medications for your condition, giving you the mental space to focus on improving your behaviors. Medication management services are also available to ensure you’re comfortable taking any prescribed medications.
  • Counseling: Counseling aims to help you cope with symptoms and gain more control over behavioral health issues. We’ll help you identify and address the root cause of problematic behaviors, teach new ways to cope with emotions, resolve conflicts and relate to others.

Our counselors and therapists use diverse types of psychotherapy to treat behavior problems. Whether your therapist uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or another type of talk therapy, they will work hard to create a safe, supportive and non-judgmental environment.

Contact Advanced Psychiatry for Behavioral Disorder Treatment in California

Overcoming behavioral problems starts with seeking professional help. As the largest full-service psychiatric facility in northern and southern California, we are well-equipped to serve individuals and families from a variety of backgrounds. Our team of compassionate psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and counselors have experience treating a vast range of mental health and behavioral disorders. To make treatment accessible, we accept insurance from all major providers, including Medicare.

Call one of our treatment centers or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment today.

“I’ve been going here over a year now. I’ve always been treated professionally. Everyone is so nice. My clinicians are courteous and caring. Everyone I’ve dealt with has treated me respectfully while I’ve been learning to deal with my diagnoses. Highly recommend this office!”

- KIM K.