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Conduct Disorder affects children and adolescents. Patients have trouble following rules and usually don’t follow the rules of socially accepted behavior They may be labeled as ‘bad’ children or called delinquent, but in fact they suffer from a treatable disorder. These children are defiant, impulsive, and can exhibit extreme antisocial behavior including drug use and criminal acts. Conduct Disorder patients are often the ones who are labeled as bullies and trouble makers. They don’t listen to direction, and are likely to have trouble with peer relationships and with school in general. Oppositional Defiant Disorder is often the precursor to Conduct Disorder. A child with oppositional defiant disorder will show signs of hostile and defiant behavior for at least six months, starting as early as preschool. Whereas Conduct Disorder typically appears in older children, as a persistent pattern of repetitive behavior at home, at school, and in social gatherings, causing significant impairment in every area of family, school and social function. Research on Conduct Disorder shows that most patients do not have behavioral problems as adults. In fact, most do well socially and in their career and family life. Conduct disorder has genetic and environmental roots. The disorder is more common in children whose parents had conduct problems when they were young, but there are other factors that contribute to this disorder. Patients typically have problems processing social information or cues, which may make it more difficult for them to understand and display appropriate behavior. Other facts that contribute to the development of this disorder are rejection by peers, brain damage, child abuse, and traumatic childhood experiences. Conduct Disorder often co-exists with Attention Deficit-Hyperactive Disorder, and together these conditions carry significant risk for patients to develop alcohol or drug dependence.
What are the symptoms?
There are various primary and secondary symptoms associated with Conduct Disorder.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Doctors usually perform a physical exam to rule out other health or mental disorders. They will look for a repetitive, persistent pattern whereby the patient violates the basic rights of others or consistently breaks rules, along with the presence of at least three of the following criteria over a twelve-month period, and at least one of the following over the past six months:
Successful treatment requires family involvement. In cases of child abuse, the child may need to be placed in a less threatening environment. Treatment(s) can include:
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