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Behavior changes or changes in behavior are general terms for an abnormal condition in which a person's behavior is altered to a degree that is not typical or usual for that individual. Behavior changes can result in problems in many areas, such as at work and school, in relationships, and in the ability to function independently.
Behavior changes can occur in any age group or population and can be a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Behavior changes can result from such general processes and conditions as infection, intellectual decline, trauma, mental health disorders, addiction, malignancy, genetic disorders and brain tissue necrosis.
Depending on the cause, behavior changes can be short-term and disappear relatively quickly, such as when they occur due to a neurological disorder called a transient ischemic attack or a minor head injury. However, repeated mild concussions and other head injuries can result in ongoing problems with behavior changes.
Behavior changes can also can be chronic and ongoing over a longer period of time, such as when they are due to serious diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's disease or a brain tumor. Sudden behavior changes, such as may occur during a stroke or a subdural hematoma in the brain, can also be serious, even life-threatening.
Intellectual decline can also result in behavior changes. Mental health disorders that can result in behavior changes include psychosis, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Behavior changes can also be due to drug addiction, and the use of alcohol and street drugs, including LSD, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, crack, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.
Behavior changes can be the result of a wide variety of other conditions, diseases or disorders that directly or indirectly affect the functioning of the brain and nervous system. These include hypoxia, anemia, atherosclerosis. Causes also include meningitis, bacterial diseases, and chronic pain. For more details about causes, see causes of behavior changes.
There are many symptoms that can occur with behavior changes. Symptoms vary depending on the disease, disorder or condition that is at the root of the behavior changes. Common coexisting symptoms include hallucinations, anxiety, restlessness, withdrawal, depression, irrational thoughts, paranoia, increasing forgetfulness, confusion, disorientation and irritability.
Diagnosing behavior changes and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a neurological examination. Drug screening and alcohol tests on blood and urine may be performed if behavior changes are suspected to be due to alcoholism, or alcohol use or drug abuse.
A mini-mental state examination (MMSE) can be used to assess mental and cognitive function if certain neurological conditions, such as intellectual decline or Alzheimer's disease, are suspected causes of behavior changes. In the MMSE, a health professional asks a patient a series of questions designed to test a range of everyday cognitive skills.
In addition to a primary care provider, making a diagnosis of the root cause of behavior changes may involve evaluations by multiple specialists, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist and/or psychologist. Making a diagnosis also includes performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose the underlying disease, condition or disorder causing the behavior changes. Depending on the suspected cause, tests can include blood tests, lumbar puncture, urine tests, and imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans and MRI.
A diagnosis of behavior changes and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because behavior changes may be mild or transient and not last long. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of behavior changes.
Treatment of behavior changes involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing the behavior changes. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of behavior changes....more »
Diagnosing behavior changes and its cause may be delayed or missed because the behavior changes may be subtle or progress slowly.
In addition, many people assume that mild behavior changes are a normal part of aging. However, behavior changes can be associated with serious conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Sudden behavior changes are usually due to a ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Behavior changes.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
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Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Behavior changes, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
Treatment plans for behavior changes are individualized depending on the cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the underlying or associated cause and helps to moderate behavior so a person can function effectively and lead as ...Behavior changes Treatments
Review further information on Behavior changes Treatments.
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Behavior changes may include these symptoms:
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Read more about causes and Behavior changes deaths.
Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden inability to speak. This was initially misdiagnosed as a "nervous...read more »
Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or ...read more »
ADHD under-diagnosed in adults: Although the over-diagnoses of ADHD in children is a well-known controversy, the reverse side related to adults. Some adults can remain undiagnosed, and indeed the condition has usually been overlooked throughout childhood. There...read more »
Eating disorders under-diagnosed in men: The typical patient with an eating disorder is female. The result is that men with eating disorders often fail to...read more »
Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be undiagnosed in teenagers. The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can cause severe medical depression to be overlooked. See misdiagnosis of depression or symptoms of depression....read more »
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The list below shows some of the causes of Behavior changes mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Behavior changes. Of the 49 causes of Behavior changes that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Behavior changes' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Behavior changes based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Medical Conditions associated with Behavior changes:
Behavioral symptoms (4608 causes)
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