What is Conduct Disorder?
Conduct disorder is considered a type of behaviour disorder. It is a serious behavioural change in children, youth, and teens which may lead to emotional disorder. They may show a disturbing and violent behaviour pattern that they won't be able to control. They also don't like to follow rules set by others.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is by far the most common neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood. While kids with ADHD might be undisciplined, they aren't typically aggressive. When a kid shows more aggressive, violent, or antisocial behaviours, such as skipping school, stealing, or harming others, it could be because of conduct disorder. Normally, ADHD is first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts till adulthood. Children with ADHD will have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviours (will act without thinking about the impact of their actions), or being overly active.
Long-lasting abnormal behaviour and violation of the rights of others are considered conduct disorders. They show signs of aggression in the early years like pushing, hitting, or biting. In youths and teens, this behaviour may vary which can go into more aggressive behaviour patterns like bullying, hurting animals, picking fights, theft, vandalism, and arson. In all races, cultures, and socioeconomic groups we can find children, youth, and teenagers with conduct disorder. Nowadays there are several behavioural disorders found in human characters and behaviours.
Types of Conduct Disorder
Conduct disorder can be categorized into 3 variances according to the age at which symptoms of the disorder first occur.
• Childhood-onset: This happens when the signs of conduct disorder appear in children before the age of 10 years.
• Adolescent onset: In this case, the signs of conduct disorder appear during the teen ages.
• Unspecified onset: Conduct disorder is classified as unspecified onset when the age at which the conduct disorder occurred for the first time is unknown.
Signs and Symptoms of Conduct disorder
If your child shows these behavioural patterns as described below, then it could be due to conduct disorder:
• Bullying or threatening behaviour
• Physical aggression toward others
• Cruel mentality towards other people or animals
• Breaking curfew
• Truancy from home or school
• Violating others' rights(theft or vandalism)
• Delinquent behaviour (running away from home)
• Emotionally or physically abusive behaviour
• Unable for them to express emotions or feelings.
Causes and Risk factors of Conduct Disorder
Researchers have found that the disability or damage to the frontal lobe of the brain is the reason for conduct disorder. The frontal lobes, located behind the forehead, are the largest lobes in our brain. This is the most common part of the brain that gets injured in traumatic brain injury.
• Experiencing abuse, parental rejections, or negligence
• Diagnosing for other psychiatric disorders
• Biological parents diagnosed with ADHD, Alcohol use disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia
• Poor nutrition for children
• Poverty leads to disorder.
• Maternal psychopathology
• Poor parenting/ lack of parental involvement
• Exposure to violence
• Subjected to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
Researchers say that it is not uncommon to find conduct disorders in children, youth, and teens during their growing stages. Conduct disorders are mainly found at the time when the brain grows up and all the factors are fed into the brain. Positive feeds lead to positive behaviour and negative feeds during growth will lead them to conduct disorder. They find it difficult to socialize in society and follow rules. These disorders may lead their behaviour to be hostile and also sometimes physically violent. These may also lead to mental health disorders.
Parents find it difficult to determine in younger children the signs of conduct disorder. At the same time, these symptoms are also found in children without conduct disorder. The recurrence, depth, and duration of the behavioural disorder will vary in each child which can be analyzed to understand the impact. A child with conduct disorder will be tough and confident. But in reality, a child with conduct disorder is often insecure and inaccurately believes that people are aggressive and threatening.
Conduct Disorder Treatment
Treatments for conduct disorder are family therapy, behavioural modification, and pharmacotherapy, often in combination. Children, youth, or teens with conduct disorder living in abusive homes may be placed in new homes filled with care and happiness. If no abuse is involved, then mental health professionals will use behaviour or talk therapy to treat your child. They help them learn how to express or control their emotions appropriately.
These professionals will also teach the parents how to manage their children's behaviours. If a child's mental health disorder is depression or ADHD, these mental health professionals may prescribe medications to treat those conditions.