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Psychosocial problems and mental health difficulties commonly related to ADD/H in adolescence are generally divided into three broad categories of emotional-behavioral disorder: internalizing, externalizing, and substance abuse (Steinberg, 2011).

Internalizing Disorders

These disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and phobia, involve distress in the emotional and cognitive domains. Self-destructive behaviors often emerge in just as likely to accompany behavioral (externalizing) problems as they are depressions and other internalizing problems (Steinberg, 2011).

Co-occurring Disorders

Comorbidity can encompass the presence of both externalizing and internalizing disorders within the same individual. For example, many adolescents who engage in delinquent behavior are also depressed (Hinden, Compas, Howell, & Achenbach, 1997). The most common co-occurring diagnoses involve the presence of conduct disorders, mood disorders, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) (Grella, Hser, Joshi, & Rounds-Bryant, 2001).

Externalizing Disorders

“Acting out” behaviors such as truancy, aggression, and delinquency are directed outside of the self in the form of a wide range of behavioral disorders characterized by an antisocial orientation to others and society. Adolescent delinquency and crime, aggression, and other forms of disorderly conduct fall under the category of externalizing behaviors and are believed to derive from a general propensity toward antisocial behavior.


Oppositional Defiant Disorder

​Children with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) display a pattern of negativity, defiance, and opposition that leads to problems with teachers, parents, siblings, and peers. They vehemently resist restrictions or (limits) on behavior despite the “reasonableness” of the request.


Substance Disorders

These disorders involve the (nonexperimental) abuse of a substance or a wide range of substances, from prescription drugs (such as stimulants or sedatives), to street drugs (such as marijuana and cocaine), to legal substances (such as nicotine and alcohol).

Conduct Disorder (CD)

Conduct disorder is a common childhood psychiatric problem that has an increased incidence in adolescence. The primary diagnostic features of conduct disorder include aggression, theft, vandalism, violations of rules and/or lying. The differential diagnosis of conduct disorder includes oppositional defiant disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood disorder and intermittent explosive disorder.

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