Aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents as a possible symptom of different mental disorders
Causes of aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents are manifold with exogenous and endogenous factors such as personality traits, temperament, family, socio-cultural, economic and financial factors closely intertwined. Aggressive behaviour, however, can also be associated with mental disorders and this is the topic discussed by the present article. Isolated and occasional outbursts of anger, aggressiveness and rage in children and adolescents can often be confused with conduct disorder. However, conduct disorder is characterised by a stable aggressive behavioural pattern, recurrently violating either the basic rights of the others or of the generally accepted social norms. Aggressive behaviour can also be present in Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Attention Deficit Hyperkinetic Disorder (ADHD), affective and psychotic disorders, autistic spectrum disorders and in some other developmental neurological disorders including intellectual disability ‒ but only as a possible and not a typical symptom.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist can mainly help with aggressive behaviour associated with mental disorders. In all other possible causes of aggressive behaviour, child and adolescent psychiatry has neither the possibility/capacity nor the authority to intervene.
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