Undercontrolled Disorders: Conduct Disorders

Undercontrolled Disorders: Conduct Disorders

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· Conduct Disorders

Conduct disorders are undercontrolled disorders, where the rights of others are violated on a continual basis. If the law is broken, the child or adolescent is said to be a delinquent. Substance abuse is not classified as a childhood disorder in the DSM, but because drug and alcohol use is so prevalent, especially in adolescents with conduct disorders, we will discuss it here.

Uncontrolled Disorders: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

· ATTENTION DEFICIT / HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)

· CAUSES

· MEDICATIONS

· BEHAVIOR THERAPY

Certain mental health professionals argue whether attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should fall under the category of conduct disorders. Nevertheless, ADHD leads to disruptions in the home, peer group and classroom, because of the child’s overactivity, impulsivity, poor attention and often, violation of rules. Consequently, children with ADHD are often rejected by peers and labelled by adults as problematic, and experience low self-esteem. More boys suffer with ADHD than girls.

Adolescents may grow out of the overactivity, but often the inattention lasts, making it difficult for teachers and parents to keep the individual focused on tasks. Impulsivity may also last, causing the individual to act in ways that have long term detrimental effects. Rule violations are also a common feature of ADHD that can have long term negative consequences.

Overcontrolled Disorders: Depression

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· Diagnosing Depression

Clinical depression is diagnosed if there are cognitive and behavioral changes in the child. Cognitive functioning of a depressed individual involves slowed thinking, problems concentrating, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and guilt, and thinking about suicide and death. Depressed children may show a range of emotions, moods and behaviors, that include withdrawal, dejection, loss of interest, loss of pleasure, irritability, sadness, change in

Depression in Childhood

If any of these symptoms continue for more than two weeks, the child may be diagnosed with depression in childhood. Depression occurs more in girls than boys, and is rarely diagnosed in children under the age of ten. However, as the child’s cognitive capacity develops throughout adolescence, depression is experienced more fully and is diagnosed more frequently.

appetite, lack of concentration, lower grades and somatic complaints such a

s Suicide

Suicide is the third-leading cause of teenage death in the U.S. (American Psychological Association, 2016). While depression may cause many suicides and suicide attempts, an accumulation of environmental factors is also linked with suicide. These environmental factors include poverty, loss of family members or important relationships, conflict, divorce, loss of traditional culture, drug and alcohol use, limited opportunities, being caught in an embarrassing or delinquent situation, and real or imagined illness (Jellinek & Snyder, 1998).

Economic Level

While poverty has been referred to many times throughout this course as a cause of developmental problems, research by psychologists Csikszentmihalyi and Schneider (2000) established that wealthier teenagers and young adults are less happy than their poorer counterparts, and are at risk for several mental health issues. Other studies on children of affluent parents have found similar results. For example, Luthar (2003, 2006) and Luthar and Latendresse (2005) found that affluent children abused significantly more substances than poorer peers, and had higher rates of depression and anxiety than the national average.

Children from affluent families may experience extreme pressure to achieve, and may have perfectionistic tendencies or unsupportive, perfectionistic parents. Mental health problems are linked to mothers who are emotionally or physically absent, as well as lack of supervision after school.

Emotional Support

Lack of social and emotional support is a big factor in suicide. Alienation from family, peers and important relationships can make individuals feel helpless, unsupported and isolated.

stomachaches and headaches.

Other Factors

Like suicide, depression is caused by many factors. These include insecure attachments, loss of parental affection, parental conflict, lack of social support, peer rejection, and traumatic life events. When one or both parents are depressed, children are more likely to experience depression, fear, anxiety, social problems, low self-esteem, conduct disorders, attention deficit disorders and academic failure (Embry & Dawson, 2002; Hammen, 2005).

Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Autism Spectrum

· AUTISM

· CHALLENGES

· ASPERGER’S SYNDROME

· CAUSE AND TREATMENT

More boys than girls have autistic disorders. Autism disorders are categorized along a spectrum of severity, and are characterized by social and communicative impairments. Individuals with autism may be averse to human contact and unable to interact. Individuals with autism require sameness either in the environment or in repetitive behaviors, and they are resistant to change.

These children also usually avoid eye contact, and depending on the severity, may lack speech and emotional responses and completely ignore other people. While research has shown that severely autistic individuals are aware of people, they do not respond to people. They often prefer inanimate objects to people, and lack attachment and empathy, because they may not understand that mental states exist and are linked to people’s behavior (Baron-Cohen, 1995).

Since an autistic individual may not be able to connect that a person’s behavior reflects mental states like knowledge or expectations, this makes it impossible to engage in an interaction. Approximately fifty percent of autistic individuals lack verbal and nonverbal language or have bizarre language (Dawson et al., 2004). They may not understand others’ body language, gestures and facial expressions. They may not respond to their name, or to other people’s distress.

Many autistic children need help to function. They often engage in obsessive self-stimulatory behavior which is thought to provide sensory stimulation. While most autistic children have low IQs, they may have phenomenal abilities usually in computers or mathematics – a syndrome called savant.

Watch this amazing video on savants with autism and neurological disorders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZsJ6BtOh60

Asperger’s syndrome falls onto the autism spectrum. Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome have affective and social limitations, but can usually successfully complete their schooling.

The cause of autism is unknown, but it is thought that it is biological. Autism occurs more commonly in identical than fraternal twins, and is thought to be one of the most heritable psychiatric disorders (Rutter, 2007). Environmental factors also play a role, and toxic substances, particularly mercury, can trigger autism.

It is not easy to treat autism. Medication may reduce hyperactivity, but there is no medication that treats the core symptoms, and side effects are aversive (Myers, 2007). Operant behavior therapy can be used to reward positive behaviors, and teach children self-care skills. Early intervention, working in the child’s home environment, involving and training family, and teaching sign rather than oral language have been associated with better outcomes (Clarke, 2001).

The cause of autism is unknown, but it is thought that it is biological. Autism occurs more commonly in identical than fraternal twins, and is thought to be one of the most heritable psychiatric disorders (Rutter, 2007). Environmental factors also play a role, and toxic substances, particularly mercury, can trigger autism.

It is not easy to treat autism. Medication may reduce hyperactivity, but there is no medication that treats the core symptoms, and side effects are aversive (Myers, 2007). Operant behavior therapy can be used to reward positive behaviors, and teach children self-care skills. Early intervention, working in the child’s home environment, involving and training family, and teaching sign rather than oral language have been associated with better outcomes (Clarke, 2001).

Knowledge Check

1

Question 1

Intervention programs for the childhood psychopathologies discussed in this lesson should:

 

Teach   other people how to treat the child.

 

Use   a multisystem approach.

 

Remove   all environmental stressors.

 

Target   the child.

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