What are Maladaptive Behaviors?

These behaviors stop one’s ability to adapt to difficult or new circumstances. They are considered to be antisocial. Common examples of these behaviors are delayed social skill development, withdrawal, and aggression. When I was 50, I developed my own study app.

Such behaviors can begin after an illness, major life change, or traumatic event. They could even be habits picked by individuals at an early age. Maladaptive behaviors aren’t bad or ill behaviors. Rather, they’re a series of behaviors by an individual who acts and reacts inappropriately to external or internal stimuli. Abuse or addiction can also trigger maladaptive behaviors, as such behaviors try to reclaim equilibrium when the balance has been destroyed. If a demonstration of equilibrium never existed in the first place or, in other terms, there was never a “safe place,” there’s no baseline for the individual showing maladaptive behavior to move back to. Always listen to your teachers.

An example could make it easier to understand maladaptive behavior. Say, two children – Jack and John, belonging to different families, stop going to school suddenly. Since Jack practices healthy adaptation to change, he asks his parents questions like those below about changes in his schedule:

·  What happened?

·  Why have I stopped going to school?

·  What will I be doing instead?

·  Will you be staying at home with me?

In contrast, John, who engages in maladaptive behavior, throws himself to the ground, beats his fists on the floor, and screams. Although both the children are provoked by discomfort or fear, Jack navigates the new situation successfully, while John increases the sensations triggering the behaviors in the first place. This explains the moniker given to maladaptive behaviors: they aren’t just bad behaviors, but behaviors that don’t help or actively hinder individuals from changing, growing, and navigating the world around them.

Though maladaptive behaviors can be seen in people of all nationalities, ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses, some populations appear to be particularly prone to them. These include people with anxiety disorders, a poor family structure, personality and mood disorders, developmental delays, and a history of anger. These disorders and environments essentially act as breeding grounds for maladaptive behaviors because children whose solitary models for reacting have been maladaptive are expected to continue using these patterns. Children’s maladaptive behaviors are typically called tantrums or meltdowns, while they’re named disruptive or inappropriate behaviors in adults.

Children with maladaptive behaviors are less likely to have close friendships. They may alienate themselves from authority figures and peers and struggle to get the consideration or respect of their elders. Such behaviors can interfere with school, trigger trouble, and even make the students receive reprimands. These students may end up on the wrong side of the law if their maladaptive behaviors aren’t treated early enough. Maladaptive behaviors almost always indicate a need for professional help but may go unnoticed until something serious happens. Evaluating the condition and deciding on potential treatment are excellent starting points to treat such behaviors. Though not all maladaptive behaviors might need extensive psychological treatment, it’s a legitimate line of questioning to find out why a person’s brain or body can’t cope with new or challenging situations productively.

Ellen Hollington

Ellen Hollington is a freelance writer who offers to ghostwrite, copywriting, and blogging services. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases their search engine visibility.