Maladaptive behaviors are actions or tendencies that don't allow an individual to adjust well to certain situations. They are typically disruptive and dysfunctional behaviors can can range from mild to severe in scope. Maladaptive behaviors are typically used as a means of reducing mental discomfort and anxiety but are not effective in this regard and can sometimes even make it worse. Substance abuse is a type of maladaptive behavior in that individuals typically are using substances like drugs and alcohol to reduce anxiety and depression but end up compounding the problem and making it worse.
Attention seeking behaviors such as Munchausen Syndrome are also a type of maladaptive behavior. There are particular types of maladaptive behaviors associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders such as rituals (repeated behaviors such as compulsively washing hands), self-harm, tantrums, aggressive behaviors. and behaviors such as scratching, pacing, and rocking.