Behavioral And Emotional Disorders In Childhood

Behavioral and emotional disorders in childhood are common reaching about 10-20%. Unfortunately they not dealt with or paid attention too. Studies have shown that behavioral and emotional disorders are associated with poor academic, occupational, and psychosocial performance.

The risk factors are many: genetic,  perinatal, maternal, family, parenting, socio-economic and personal risk factors.

They fall mostly in 2 categories

1. Externalization disorders {Disruptive behavior (temper tantrums, ADHA, oppositional, defiant or conduct disorder, Pervasive developmental disorder(autism)}
2. Internalization disorders (Depression,  anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder)

Disruptive behavior: are the most common in preschool and school aged kids. Even though mild defiance and disruptive behavior is considered normal in this age, but extremely difficult and challenging behavior outside the norm for the age and the level of development are recognized as behavioral disorders. Community studies has identified that 80% of kids will have tantrums at times, 10% will have tantrums daily.

Healthcare providers may not be able to differentiate between developmentally normal emotions (fear or crying) and disorders that manifest as prolonged and severe emotional distresses. Certain diseases affects the child body image (chronic eczema, acne, diabetes, obesity…) leading to poor quality of life. Studies have shown that the best places for identification of such issues are the primary health care provider (pediatrician, family medicine, or general practitioner) so more training and attention should be emphasized. History taking Issues with early regulation (infant feeding and sleeping..) in probably related to poor self- regulation  skills involving the ability to control impulses of emotions.

Treatment involves the primary healthcare provider plus multiple professionals like psychologist, psychiatrist, education team, occupational therapists, and physiotherapist…

The first technics used are

1. Parental skill training. Parent skills training has a proven effect on reducing externalizating problems for children with emotional and behavioral disorders.
2. Effective educational procedures also need to be implemented. Multiple studies have proven that changing the educational strategies to academically-focused interventions are most effective and increasing levels of engagement and achievement by children with emotional and behavioral disorders including peer-assisted learning and class-wide peer tutoring. 
3. behavioral modification and social communication enhancement technics have proven effective.
4. Medication do have a proven effect on improving emotional and behavioral disorders but can never be used as a lone strategy.


Dr Badi Alatasti
Consultant Pediatrician

Address: HealthBay Polyclinic, Al Wasl Road, Dubai
Telephone No: 800 HBPC (4272)
Instagram: @healthbaypolyclinic 
Facebook: @healthbay

MOH NO: JG91263

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