Behavior Problems

Behavior Problems

Behavioral  Problems, Examination Phobia & Substance Abuse

Behavioral Problems :

Types of Behavioral Problems :

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) :

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior problem in which children are openly hostile, uncooperative, and irritable. They lose their tempers and are mean and spiteful towards others. They often do things to deliberately annoy other people. Most of their defiant behaviour is directed at authority figures, but they also sometimes behave the same way towards their siblings, playmates, or classmates. Their home life, school life, and peer relationships are seriously negatively affected because of the way they think and behave.

Conduct Disorder (CD) :

Conduct Disorder (CD) is sometimes a later, more serious, phase of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). A child with CD is not just a child being "bad"; CD is a serious psychiatric disorder that requires professional help.

Children with this condition are aggressive all the time in a way that causes problems for them and their family. They may threaten or actually harm people or animals, or they may damage or destroy property. They may steal or shoplift, or even be involved in breaking and entering. They often lie or try to "con" other people. They frequently skip school.

Causes of Behavioral Problems :

Many children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) have other mental health problems like depression, anxiety, or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Their difficult behaviours are often a reaction to the symptoms of these conditions.

Children with ODD are more likely than other children to have a family history of behavior problems, mood problems, or substance abuse. Sometimes if caregiving is poor, supervision is lacking, or there is family discord or exposure to violence, children will respond by developing the symptoms of ODD. Having a mother with untreated depression also makes children more likely to have ODD. Both ODD and CD are associated with harsh parenting practices.

Treatment for Behavioral Problem :

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) improve their mood and control their anger. CBT works by making the child aware of the thinking patterns that fuel their behaviour, and teaching them ways of counteracting that thinking.

Social skills training may also be helpful to the child with ODD. Family therapy that helps change how the family functions can also help.

Many parents of children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) punish their children harshly and are very critical of them, usually because of their own life experience and because they suffer from depression. Changing these parenting practices can help the child and benefit the family as a whole. If the parents, particularly the mothers, are unable to develop new ways of parenting, their children may go on to develop the more serious condition of Conduct Disorder (CD).

In treatment, it is very important to focus on other conditions the child may have. Children who have AD/HD, depression, or anxiety tend to lose symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) when their other problems are successfully treated. These are often easier to treat than ODD.

Conduct Disorder (CD) is harder to treat than Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and becomes worse as a child gets older. This makes early intervention extremely important. Programs that can be effective include parent training, family therapy, and Multisystemic Therapy (MST), an intensive program that treats the whole family and also involves school and community. Programs that are punitive or threatening in nature are not shown to be effective and may even cause more harm than good.

Examination Phobia :

A phobia caused due to the fear of examination, usually to students, and has symptoms that can be easily seen and observed. It is the irrational or very powerful fear and dislike exams.

For instance, impulsivity often means:

  • Blurting out answers/responses before the question has even been complete or without putting up a hand;
  • Not waiting in lines or taking turns in both learning and play situations;
  • Interrupting others or intruding on others (butting in).
  • Decide on which behavior to change first and then implement the behavior contract and or the suggestions listed above.
Symptoms of Examination Phobia :
To know whether exam phobia is the barrier in you way of achieving good grades, read the following symptoms carefully.


Psychological symptoms :

  • If your child stressed about exams.
  • If your child have nightmares of sitting at a desk and not being able to answer a single question.
  • Your child feel tense, great fear and a sense of unease and distress.
  • When exams are near your child often complain about rigid mind and lack of thinking which causes excessive worry.
  • Loss of appetite and sleep may also be symptoms of exam anxiety and fear.

Physical symptoms :

  • Heartbeat increases.
  • Throat becomes dry.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Start sweating, trembling and your limbs become cold.
  • Suffer from abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea.

Behavioral symptoms :

  • Your child is adopting a behavior that reduces level of anxiety such as oversleeping, absence from school and exam or absorption in television and games.

Treatment of Examination Phobia :

Counseling and Psychotherapy are indicated in treating exam phobia. Counselors who work with children and adolescents who suffer from exam phobia may be required to use effective counseling strategies to help them. These interventions may be required to allow the students to achieve a greater academic autonomous functioning ability and face the exam with confidence. Empathetic   listing to the student would ease his difficulties and create a growth promoting atmosphere. The client will begin to trust his abilities and challenge the fright.

In Psychotherapy it is necessary to establish a positive and functioning relationship with the therapist. The therapist should help the client to become consciously aware and able to express their anxiety and fear about exam and performance situations. The therapist should direct the client to fight his fear. Hence the student gets more confidence to face the exam.

Some therapists perform Hypnotherapy to reduce the fear. Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness and heightened responsiveness to suggestions. During the hypnotic sessions positive suggestions are given to build confidence and illuminate the exam fear. The modern research indicates that EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is one of the effective modes of psychotherapy that can treat phobias successfully.

Substance Abuse :

Substance abuse can simply be defined as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood-altering purposes. Medline's medical encyclopedia defines drug abuse as "the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are indicated or in a manner or in quantities other than directed."

Generally, when most people talk about substance abuse, they are referring to the use of illegal drugs. Most professionals in the field of drug abuse prevention argue that any use of illegal drugs is by definition abuse. The term substance abuse refers to an unhealthy pattern of substance (alcohol or drug) use that results in significant problems in one of the following ways:

An inability to adequately take care of your responsibilities or fill your role at work, school, or home.

The frequent use of substances in situations where it might be dangerous to do so (for example, driving while under the influence).

Repeated legal problems due to substance use (for example, public intoxication or disorderly conduct).

The continued use of substances even though the substance use is causing considerable problems in your life.

Treatment to Control Autism in Children :

Discovering that your child has an autism spectrum disorder can be an overwhelming experience. For some, the diagnosis may come as a complete surprise; others may have had suspicions and tried for months or years to get an accurate diagnosis. Today the picture is much clearer. With appropriate services and supports, training, and information, children on the autism spectrum will grow, learn and flourish, even if at a different developmental rate than others.

While there is no known cure for autism, there are treatment and education approaches that may reduce some of the challenges associated with the condition. Intervention may help to lessen disruptive behaviors, and education can teach self-help skills that allow for greater independence. But just as there is no one symptom or behavior that identifies individuals with ASD, there is no single treatment that will be effective for all people on the spectrum.

An early, intensive, appropriate treatment program will greatly improve the outlook for most young children with autism. Most programs will build on the interests of the child in a highly structured schedule of constructive activities. Visual aids are often helpful.

Treatment is most successful when it is geared toward the child's particular needs. An experienced specialist or team should design the program for the individual child. A variety of therapies are available, including:

  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA)
  • Medications
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech-language therapy

Sensory integration and vision therapy are also common, but there is little research supporting their effectiveness.