Conduct disorder

Conduct Disorder

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Abbreviation: CD.

Alternative Name: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

A mental disorder of childhood or adolescence characterized by a persistent pattern of violating societal norms and the rights of others.

Conduct disorder

Children with the disorder may exhibit physical aggression, cruelty to animals, robbery and vandalism, truancy, cheating, and lying.

All children are defiant at times and it is a normal part of adolescence to do the opposite of what one is told. Oppositional-defiant disorder mainly applies to children whose functioning at home and at school is impaired by constant conflict with adults and other children. Conduct disorder mainly applies to adolescents whose behavior goes to antisocial extremes; many are excluded from school or in trouble with the law.

In younger children: Marked tantrums, defiance, fighting, and bullying.

In older children and adolescents: Serious law breaking such as stealing, damage toproperty, assault.

Conduct disorder has been associated with:

    Family conflicts.

  • Child abuse.

  • Poverty.

  • Genetic defects.

  • Parental drug addiction or alcoholism.

  • Drug addiction.

It is more common in boys (2:1).


Some common symptoms include:

    Breaking rules without apparent reason.

  • Antisocial behaviors, such as bullying and fighting.

  • Cruel or aggressive behavior toward people and animals.

  • Destruction of property (breaking and entering, deliberately setting fires, destroying other people's property).

  • Heavy drinking.

  • Illicit drug use.

  • Running away.

  • Truancy.

  • Vandalism.


Differential Diagnosis:


  • Depressive disorder.

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

  • Dyslexia.

  • Mental retardation.

  • Autism spectrum disorders.

The disease is diagnosed based on the pattern of repetitive, persistent and excessive antisocial, aggressive or defiantbehavior lasting 6 months or more.

    In younger children (5-10 years old), the behaviors are characteristic of theoppositional-defiant type of conduct disorder: Angry outbursts, loss of temper, refusal toobey commands and rules, destructiveness, hitting, etc.

  • In older children and adolescents (>10 years), the behaviors arecharacteristic of conduct disorder per se: vandalism, cruelty to people and animals,bullying, lying, stealing outside the home, truancy, drug and alcohol misuse, and criminalacts, plus all the features of the oppositional-defiant type.


Successful treatment requires close involvement of the child's family. Parents can learn techniques to help manage their child's problem behavior.

Empirically supported treatments options include

    Parent management training.

  • Problem solving skills training.

  • Multi-systemic therapy.

CDs are currently managed through a combination of interventions targeted at both the child and the family. Child-focused therapies include behavioural therapy, cognitive therapy, psychotherapy, social skills training, play therapy, music/art therapy and occupational therapy. Family therapy usually involves a therapist meeting with the whole family to explore personal interactions that could be contributing to or sustaining a child's problem behaviors.

Disclaimer:The above information is just informative purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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