Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Kids tend to throw temper tantrums and act hyper. But what happens when a kid goes beyond what's considered normal? In this lesson, we'll look at some psychological disorders often diagnosed in childhood: attentional and behavioral disorders.

Mental Disorders

Cherry has a problem. She's in middle school, and she can't seem to settle down and act like the other kids. She answers questions before the teacher even finishes asking them and can't wait for her turn. She is easily distracted by anything around her, and she has trouble finishing work or following through on things.

Not only that, Cherry can be mean. When she gets angry, she will start a fight or retaliate in another way. Last week, she went into her classmate's desk and broke every one of her pencils in half.

Cherry might be suffering from a mental disorder, also called psychological disorder, or a disorder that is primarily made up of unusual thoughts, behaviors, and/or feelings. There are many, many psychological disorders. Let's look closer at two types common in children and adolescents: attentional disorders and defiant disorders.

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  • 0:01 Mental Disorders
  • 1:01 Attention Deficit Disorder
  • 2:35 Behavioral Disorders
  • 4:15 Lesson Summary
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Attention Deficit Disorder

Remember that Cherry has trouble concentrating on things. She also gets so excited that she answers questions before the teacher finishes asking them. She has trouble finishing and following through on things and can't seem to wait for her turn.

Cherry might be suffering from attention deficit disorder, or ADD, which is a psychological disorder characterized by inattention and impulsivity. Cherry is inattentive when she has trouble concentrating or trouble finishing and following through on things. She's also easily distracted, which is a major part of inattention. She is impulsive when she answers questions before the teacher finishes asking them and when she can't wait for her turn.

In addition to the ADD that Cherry might be suffering, there is another, overlapping disorder known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Like ADD, ADHD is characterized by inattention and impulsivity, but ADHD patients are hyperactive as well. For example, if Cherry was restless or fidgeted a lot, she might have ADHD.

ADD and ADHD are commonly diagnosed in children and teenagers, but they can be present and diagnosed in adults as well. Both ADD and ADHD can be treated with medication as well as behavioral therapy. Cherry, and people like her, should see a psychiatrist or psychologist to get treatment.

Behavioral Disorders

Remember that ADD is not Cherry's only problem. She can also be mean. She starts fights and destroys people's things to get back at them when she is angry. Cherry might be suffering from a behavioral disorder as well as ADD. These are disorders that involve behavioral issues that are beyond the norm.

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