Challenging behaviour is common in intellectual disability but it is difficult to diagnose and manage. It can adversely affect the quality of life of the individual and cause the breakdown of community placements, resulting in hospital admission. This article discusses the aetiology of challenging behaviour (including the complex relationship with mental illness), diagnostic problems, the current evidence base in relation to psychosocial and pharmacological treatments, and service delivery.
•Understand the aetiological basis of challenging behaviour.
•Understand the role of functional analysis.
•Appreciate the evidence base in relation to the psychological and pharmacological treatment of challenging behaviour.