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What is a Disruptive Behavior Disorder?

An iPhone with the image of an angry emoji on the screen

How This Mental Health Condition Can Lead to Substance Use

Do you know someone with a disruptive behavior disorder (DBD)? This can be a person who is constantly defiant and argumentative or one who has problems with self-control—both symptoms of conditions like Intermittent Explosive Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Keep reading as we discuss DBDs and how they can lead to addiction. We will also provide information on treatment options for those affected by this condition.

What Are Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBDs)?

Disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs) are a group of mental illnesses that share common symptoms. Also sometimes referred to as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorders (DMDDs), these symptoms can cause problems in social, academic, or work settings. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people with DBDs may:

  • Have trouble following rules.
  • Be aggressive toward others.
  • Have problems controlling their temper.
  • Blame others for their mistakes or misbehavior.
  • Be easily annoyed or angered.
  • Have difficulty cooperating with others.
  • Be touchy or easily hurt by others' comments.
  • Seek revenge.
  • Hold grudges.

While some people with DBDs may only experience one or two of these symptoms, others may have all of them. These conditions can range from mild to severe. They usually start in childhood and can continue into adulthood if not treated.

What Causes DBDs?

The exact cause of disruptive behavior disorders is unknown, but they are thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies have shown that DBDs are more common in people who have a family history of mental illness or substance abuse. It is also believed that disruptions in brain development before the age of five may play a role in the development of these disorders.

How Can DBDs Lead to Addiction?

People with disruptive behavior disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. This is because substances can help temporarily relieve the symptoms of their disorder.

For example, someone with an anger problem may turn to alcohol to help them relax and take the edge off. However, substance abuse can quickly lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease that causes changes in the brain that make it difficult to abstain from drug use.

Co-Occurring DBDs and Substance Use Disorders

Once someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they may have a hard time stopping on their own. This is because addiction can cause changes in the brain that make it difficult to control impulses and make sound decisions. As a result, people with addiction often need professional help to recover.

At North Georgia Recovery Center, we understand the importance of mental health treatment as part of the recovery journey. That's why we work with our clients to identify and address co-occurring behaviors like DBDs. To learn more about our available therapies and other options, please contact our team by calling (678) 940-7873.