Conduct disorder is a type of
behavior disorder. It’s when a child has antisocial behavior. He or she may disregard
basic social standards and rules. He or she may also:
These behaviors sometimes happen together. But one or more may occur without the
Experts believe that many factors play a role in conduct disorder. These are:
Some children with conduct disorders seem to have a problem in the frontal lobe of the
brain. This interferes with a child’s ability to plan, stay away from harm, and learn
from negative experiences.
Some experts believe that a series of traumatic
experiences occurs for a child to develop a conduct disorder. These experiences then often
lead to depressed mood, behavior problems, and involvement in a deviant peer group.
A conduct disorder is more common in boys than in girls. It is also more likely to
develop in children or teens who come from homes that are:
Children with these mental health problems are also more likely to have conduct
Children or teens who are considered to have a difficult temperament are more likely to
develop behavior problems.
Most symptoms seen in children with conduct disorder also happen at times in children
without this problem. But in children with the disorder, these symptoms occur more
often. They also interfere with learning, school adjustment, and sometimes with the
Each child’s symptoms may vary. But
the 4 main groups of behaviors are described below.
These symptoms may look like
other mental health problems. Have your child see his or her healthcare provider for
A child psychiatrist or qualified mental health expert can diagnose a conduct disorder.
He or she will talk with parents and teachers about the child’s behavior and may observe
the child. In some cases, your child may need mental health testing.
If you notice symptoms of conduct disorder in your child or teen, you can help by
seeking a diagnosis right away. Early treatment can often prevent future problems.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also
depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment for conduct disorder may include:
Experts don’t know exactly why some
children develop conduct disorder. Things such as a traumatic experience, social
problems, and biological factors may be involved. To reduce the risk for this disorder,
parents can learn positive parenting strategies. They can be good role models for their
children.. This can help to create a closer parent-child relationship and give the child
with examples of how to respectfully treat other people, animals, and property. It can
also create a safe and stable home life for the child.
Early treatment for your child can often prevent future problems. Here are things you
can do to help your child:
Call your healthcare provider right away if your child:
Call if your child has suicidal thoughts, a suicide plan, and the means
to carry out the plan. Never leave them alone until the situation is assessed and
treatment laid out. This may include a hospital stay.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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