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Conduct Disorders

Conduct disorders are common among teens and children. Learning more about them is crucial when dealing with children.

What are Conduct Disorders?

Conduct disorders are serious emotional and behavioral problems. It is distinct from other disorders because it usually starts during childhood or teenage years.

How Does a Person Suffering From a Conduct Disorder Behave?

Children or teenagers suffering from conduct disorders are violent, argumentative, and extremely disruptive.

Conduct disorder is fundamentally different from rebellion. It is more intense and long-lasting. It is also more brazen and is likely to raise alarm among parents and teachers.

What are the Types of Conduct Disorders?

The types of conduct disorders are usually classified by age. They include

Childhood Onset – This usually begins between the ages of 0-10 years.

Adolescent Onset – This usually begins during the adolescent or teenage years.

Unclear Onset – This is a situation where the specific start time of symptoms is unknown.

What are the Symptoms of Conduct Disorders?

It’s important to remember that these symptoms must be prolonged and persistent. Having one symptom does not necessarily mean you have a conduct disorder.

Some common symptoms include

  • Flagrant Violation of Rules – This might include illicit drug and substance abuse, skipping school, or running away from home.
  • Deceitful Behavior – This can include lying, forgery, or manipulation.
  • Aggressive Behavior – This can include assault or battery, bullying, and intimidation.
  • Destructive Behavior – This usually includes the destruction of items or properties
  • Temper tantrums
  • Low self-esteem
  • Irritability

What are the Causes of Conduct Disorders?

Environmental Causes – Attitudes or behaviors prevalent in the child’s environment can cause conduct disorders. This might include poverty, violent parents/guardians, child abuse, and substance abuse.

Genetic Causes – The condition of the frontal lobe can be a cause of conduct disorder. The frontal lobe is what determines your personality and cognitive traits. If the frontal lobe is damaged, the chances of getting this disorder increase.

Who is at Risk of Getting This Disorder?

  • People with a child abuse history
  • Children that come from a poor home
  • Male children or teenagers are more likely to have conduct disorders.
  • Family history of mental health issues
  • Having a close family member who abuses alcohol or drugs
  • History of one or more traumatic experiences

How is Conduct Disorder Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is usually made by a mental health expert. Diagnosis will require questions and physical examination.

The mental health professional will want to know the symptoms that your child has experienced. Conduct disorders cannot be diagnosed if they have not experienced at least 3 symptoms.

The child or teenager must also have shown at least one of these symptoms in the last 6 months. The expert will also consider the impact it has had on their lives.

What are the Likely Treatments for Conduct Disorders?


Currently, there are no medications specifically for conduct disorders. However, some medications can be taken to treat some symptoms.

Before taking any medication, seek the recommendation of your doctor or mental health expert.


This focuses on helping the child or teenager learn new habits and conduct. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and family therapy are used to deal with other issues. This might include anger problems, impulse control, and moral reasoning.

Is Conduct Disorder Curable?

Conduct disorder does not have a cure. However, symptoms can be managed with the right treatment. Getting treatment can give your child can improve their lives.

It also protects them from having more issues in the future. Having other mental issues might also negatively affect the chances of treatment.

When Should You See a Doctor?

You should see the doctor immediately if you notice your child displaying any signs of conduct disorder. If you would like to discuss treatment options, reach out to California Prime Recovery.

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