What are the signs of behavioral problems?

Behavior is an action or reaction to the environment or to internal thoughts and emotions. Behavioral symptoms are persistent or repetitive behaviors that are unusual, disruptive, inappropriate, or cause problems. Aggression, criminal behavior, defiance, drug use, hostility, inappropriate sexual behavior, inattention, secrecy, and self-harm are examples of behavioral symptoms. Only 30% of children with developmental or behavior disorder are identified prior to starting school, meaning the majority of affected children miss out on the opportunity to participate in early intervention.

In children, behavioral symptoms may be indications of behavioral disorders, such as conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. Behavioral symptoms can also be associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, or Asperger’s syndrome. Lead poisoning is another potential cause of behavior disorders in children. In adolescents and adults, behavioral symptoms can result from personality disorders or psychiatric illnesses. Traumatic brain injury and medical disorders that affect the brain can also cause behavioral symptoms.

Substance abuse is another potential cause of behavioral symptoms, or may be a complication of conditions that cause behavioral symptoms. If it is a complication of another condition, substance abuse can make behavioral symptoms worse.

Behavioral symptoms can occasionally result from serious medical conditions that can have life-threatening complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for symptoms, such as severe injury or thoughts of suicide and self harm. If your or your child’s behavioral symptoms are persistent, are causing other problems, or cause you concern, seek prompt medical care.


What other symptoms might occur with behavioral symptoms?

Behavioral symptoms may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Conditions that frequently affect behavior may also involve other body systems.

Psychiatric and cognitive symptoms that may occur along with behavioral symptoms

Behavioral symptoms may accompany other psychiatric or cognitive symptoms including:
Read more about behavioral symptomssymptoms


What causes behavioral symptoms?

Abnormal brain chemistry, injury, or structural abnormalities may play a role in the development of behavioral symptoms. Genetics may play a role, as some conditions that have behavioral symptoms are more common in people who have a family history of mental illness or substance abuse. Environment factors, such as an unstable home life, child abuse, lack of supervision, and inconsistent discipli... Read more about behavioral symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Mental Health and Behavior