What Causes “Dysfunctional Behavior?”

Suzanne Kellner-Zinck
3 min readDec 4, 2021


Today, I received a message from a very good friend of mine regarding ‘dysfunctional behavior’ in a friend’s son. Unfortunately, this behavior landed his female friend in the hospital.

So, we are going to attack the issue of ‘dysfunctional behavior’ and what can cause it so that you can have a better understanding of what needs to be investigated to get to the root cause because behavioral changes are indeed a strong indicator that something could be going very wrong from a myriad of causes.

First, depending on the age of the person involved and what drugs are illicit and licit, drugs can indeed cause one to act out in dangerous ways. Antidepressants have a black box warning on them where teens are concerned because they can and do cause suicidal and homicidal behavior.

I have also had a client in my hypnosis practice years ago who was showing two distinct personalities — one was very calm and lovely, and the other very angry. It was indeed the antidepressant that she was on that was the cause of this interesting and scary phenomenon.

I had two brothers who had smoked marijuana at two different times who both had very severe paranoia and anxiety as side-effects. This was before the legalization of medical marijuana — however, one needs to understand that these days there are many substances that can be cut into the marijuana that could be poisonous to the brain. Just because something seems ‘natural’ does not mean it is. And, also realize that there are many natural substances that are indeed poisonous to humans — some types of mushrooms, berries, and other plants.

If a person is around 20 years old, psychotic events can occur for the first time so mental health issues are something to be evaluated for.

Bleeds and blockages of blood in the brain can cause emotional outbursts as well depending on where in the brain the bleed or blockage occurred. My own father lost his impulse control after suffering some mini-strokes before the one that took out his entire brain. He would make very demeaning comments about how others were doing whatever — such as square dancing making the wrong steps, or just being mean to my mom for no reason.

Lack of certain nutrients can also cause neurological problems such as not having enough vitamin B12 which can also cause brain fog, depression, and other symptoms.

Older people who act behaviorally dysfunctional ways could be suffering from Altzimers even as early as the early and mid-50s. The person with Altziemers is easily agitated, and many times frightened by that which they can no longer understand so may act out in hitting or biting. I experienced this situation while I was doing home care for elders needing to stay with one such client. She really needed some sort of tranquilizer to help her to calm down but her family was against it. So, happened that I was uncomfortable taking care of a woman who was running out into the street and trying to hit me so I had my bosses take me off the case. The next day one of my co-workers was bitten by the client — so truly — we need to understand that if a client is this agitated, sometimes medication is in order to help them to calm down and feel a bit safer.

So, be mindful that when a person is acting in abnormal ways, that there is most likely a medical issue involved that needs to be resolved.

NEVER fault a person for their behavior. Instead, investigate the causes for that behavior and do your best to help them get it resolved. Because, just as no one is blamed for developing cancer or other physical health issues, no one should ever be blamed or made fun of for having mental health issues either — especially when we understand that the brain is where the emotional issues are going to be processed and brought out in the behavior in any case.



Suzanne Kellner-Zinck

Hypnotism is Suzanne’s profession, specializing in working with kids and those with eating disorders and sex addiction.