A guide to realizing if
your child is at-risk, displaying
self-destructive behaviors, and
needs your help and intervention.
Call Now! 1-866-620-1418
Learn more how Total Transformation, an at-home program for parents, can help your struggling teen and heal your family.
Will being ADOPTED make adolescence harder for my child?
How can I deal with the ANGER
in our family?
Is my teen's BEHAVIOR just normal teenage rebellion?
What do parents and teachers need to know about BULLYING?
How do I find a THERAPIST for my teen?
What is EMOTIONAL ABUSE?
How can I help my OVERWEIGHT
How do I find a good OUTDOOR PROGRAM for my teen?
My teen is cutting. What do I need to know about SELF-INJURY?
What is 'normal' teen SEXUAL BEHAVIOR and what is cause for concern?
How can I help my teen adjust to our STEPFAMILY?
Conduct disorder is
the most serious psychiatric / behavioral disorder
in childhood and adolescence.
Those with this disorder have great difficulty following rules and behaving in a socially acceptable way. They are often viewed by other children, adults and social agencies as "bad" or delinquent, rather than mentally ill.
Children or adolescents with conduct disorder may exhibit aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, deceitful behavior, lying, stealing, and serious violation of rules.
Aggression to people and animals
Destruction of property
Deceitfulness, lying, or stealing
Serious violations of rules
Children with conduct disorder may also experience:
Children who exhibit these behaviors should receive a comprehensive evaluation. Many children with a conduct disorder may have coexisting conditions such as mood disorders, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, ADHD, learning problems, or thought disorders which can also be treated.
Research shows that young people with conduct disorder are likely to have ongoing problems if they and their families do not receive early and comprehensive treatment. Without treatment, many young people with conduct disorder are unable to adapt to the demands of adulthood and continue to have problems with relationships and holding a job. They often break laws or behave in an antisocial manner.
Many factors may contribute to a child developing conduct disorder, including brain damage, child abuse, genetic vulnerability, school failure, and traumatic life experiences. Other factors that may make a child more likely to develop conduct disorder include early maternal rejection and/or separation from parents, parental mental illness, and family violence.
Treatment of children with conduct disorder can be complex and challenging. Treatment can be provided in a variety of different settings depending on the severity of the behaviors.
Adding to the challenge of treatment are the child's uncooperative attitude, fear and distrust of adults. In developing a comprehensive treatment plan, a child and adolescent mental health professional may use information from the child, family, teachers, and other medical specialties to understand the causes of the disorder.
Behavior therapy and psychotherapy are usually necessary to help the child appropriately express and control anger. Special education may be needed for youth with learning disabilities. Parents often need expert assistance in devising and carrying out special management and educational programs in the home and at school.
Treatment is rarely brief since establishing new attitudes and behavior patterns takes time. Some child and teen behaviors are hard to change after they have become ingrained. Therefore, the earlier the conduct disorder is identified and treated, the better the chance for success. Early treatment offers a child a better chance for considerable improvement and hope for a more successful future.
Information from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and the National Mental Health Information Center.
Practical Help, Real Answers
for Adoptive & Foster Parents
Practical Help, Real Answers
for Adoptive & Foster Parents
ADHD + Conduct Disorder May Signal Trouble Ahead ~ Several investigations in the past have implied that having ADHD in childhood increases the risk of engaging in antisocial behaviors in adulthood. But these studies really didnít look into whether the risk was due to having ADHD alone or to having ADHD combined with conduct disorder. A small study suggests children with ADHD do not grow up to be criminals unless they also have conduct disorder.
Aggression and Violence: The Neurobiology of Experience ~ Are violent children conceived or created? Is there a neurobiological reason that a child is violent? What makes a child violent?
Animal Abuse and Youth Violence (pdf) ~ An overview of the underreported phenomenon of animal abuse in childhood and adolescence. Particular attention is given to the role of animal abuse as a symptom of conduct disorder.
Animal abuse at early age linked to interpersonal violence ~ Animal cruelty, which begins showing up as early as age six, is one of the earliest and most reliable predictors of later violent behavior.
Conduct Disorder ~ In-depth look at one of the most difficult and intractable mental health problems in children and adolescents.
Conduct Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment in Primary Care ~ While mild and early-stage cases of conduct disorder may be effectively managed by family physicians, many children and adolescents with conduct disorder will require specialized mental health treatment.
Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder in Persons with Severe Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Disorders ~ Conduct disorder (CD) and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) are established risk factors for substance use disorders in both the general population and among persons with schizophrenia and other severe mental illnesses.
Conduct Disorder May Increase Drinking Risk ~ People diagnosed with behavior problems during their early elementary school years may have a higher risk of becoming dependent on alcohol during adolescence.
Early identification of individuals at risk for antisocial personality disorder ~ Children at risk for future antisocial personality disorder are readily identified, but evidence on the long-term effectiveness of prevention and treatment programs is limited.
Good and Evil, Character and Morality ~ The author believes that the goal of any therapy is to work toward responsible accountable behavior, even if that includes acceptance of powerlessness, and then movement to accountable responsible behavior.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Diagnosis and Treatment ~ Comprehensive information from Dr. Jim Chandler.
Parent Abuse: The Abuse of Parents by Their Teenage Children (pdf) ~ Defines parent abuse and discusses how wide spread it is. Discusses who is likely to be abusive, who is likely to be abused, the effects it has on the family, and how to get help for the abusive youth.
Pathways from Childhood Conduct Problems to Adult Criminality ~ This paper focuses on childhood conduct disorder, ADD/ADHD, and antisocial personality and how they act as factors in predicting a child's future criminal activity. An overview on the disorders is provided, looking into their characteristics, causality, and relationship to crime to provide a complete understanding of the diagnoses. The difference between young girls and boys and their criminal behavior is also recorded. Different studies are incorporated to display evidence whether or not a child's disorders are prone to development of adult criminality.
The Broad Continuum of Conduct and Behavioral Problems (pdf) ~ Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Link Between Violence Against Animals and Violence Against Humans ~ Animal abuse doesn't occur in isolation; rather, it takes place in a complex net of disturbed family relations - where there may be child abuse, animal abuse, and/or domestic violence.
The Partial Psychopath ~ What is missing in psychopaths is the compelling nature of the appropriate affective response to the knowledge gained from putting himself in another persons shoes, in the way that this happens in the normal person.
Christian therapeutic boarding school
for teen boys and girls,
with year-round enrollment
© Focus Adolescent Services