What is Conduct Disorder (CD)?

Children and teenagers can develop conduct disorder, which is a serious behavioral and emotional disorder. A child with this disease may engage in a pattern of disruptive and violent behavior as well as have difficulty adhering to regulations.


It is estimated that 2% -16% of youngsters in the United States have conduct disorder. It is more common in boys than in girls and usually occurs in late childhood or early adolescence.
If your child is exhibiting symptoms of conduct disorder, it is critical that you get medical consultation. Once your child receives therapy for conduct disorder and any other underlying issues, he or she has a far better chance of significant recovery and a brighter future.

Conduct Disorder

Symptoms of Conduct Disorder

Each child’s symptoms may vary. But the 4 main groups of behaviors are:
Aggressive conduct
• Threatening behavior
• Bullying
• Physical violence
• Brutality to others or animals
• Using weapons
• Forcing someone into molestation, sexuality, or rape
Destructive conduct
• Purposefully destroying property (vandalism)
• Burning
• Untruthful behavior
• Robbery
• Shoplifting
• Criminal behavior
Violation of rules or age-appropriate standards
• Not going to school (absenteeism)
• Running away
• Mischiefs
• Pranks
• Early sexual activity
These symptoms may look like other mental health issues. Make sure your child sees his or her physician for a diagnosis.

Causes of Conduct Disorder

Experts believe that many factors play a role in conduct disorder. These are:
• Brain damage
• A distressing event
• Genetic makeup
• Child abuse
• Past failure in school
• Social issues
Some children with behavioral issues appear to have a dysfunction in the frontal lobe of the brain. This impairs a child’s capacity to plan, avoid injury, and learn from unfavorable events.

Risk factors of Conduct Disorder

Your child’s risk of getting a conduct disorder may be increased by the following factors:
• being a male
• living in a city setting
• being impoverished
• having a history of a behavior problems in one’s family
• having a mental disorder in one’s family
• having other psychiatric illnesses
• having a drug or alcohol-abusing parents
• living in a dysfunctional household
• a history of being subjected to terrible occurrences
• having been abused or neglected

Complications of Conduct Disorder

If your child is exhibiting symptoms of conduct disorder, it is critical that you get medical attention. If a child or adolescent with conduct disorder is not treated, he or she is at risk of acquiring other mental problems as an adult. Antisocial and other personality disorders, mood or anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders are examples of these.

Prevention of Conduct Disorder

Although it is not feasible to prevent conduct disorder, recognizing and responding to signs as they develop can reduce discomfort for the child and family and avert many of the issues associated with the illness. Furthermore, giving a nurturing, supporting, and consistent family environment with a balance of love and discipline may aid in the reduction of symptoms and the prevention of episodes of unsettling behavior.

Diagnosis of Conduct Disorder

A conduct disorder can be diagnosed by a child psychiatrist or a trained mental health specialist. He or she will discuss the child’s conduct with parents and teachers and may observe the child. In some situations, your child may require mental health evaluation.
If you observe signs of a conduct issue in your child or adolescent, you can help by seeking a diagnosis as soon as possible. Early therapy can frequently avert future issues.

Treatment of Conduct Disorder

Treatment of conduct disorder usually consists of a combination of the following:
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy (a sort of psychotherapy) aims to teach the child how to express and manage his or her anger in more appropriate ways. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a sort of therapy that seeks to modify the child’s thinking (cognition) in order to improve problem-solving skills, anger management, moral reasoning skills, and impulse control. Family therapy can assist enhance family interactions and communication amongst family members. Parent management training (PMT) is a specialized therapeutic practice that teaches parents how to positively influence their child’s conduct at home.
Medication: Although there is no medically approved prescription to treat conduct disorder, many pharmaceuticals may be taken (off label) to treat some of its disturbing symptoms (impulsivity, aggression, dysregulated mood), as well as any other mental diseases that may be present, such as ADHD or major depression.