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Conduct disorder is a type of behavior disorder. It’s when a child has antisocial behavior. He or she may disregard basic social standards and rules. He or she may also:
These behaviors sometimes happen together. But one or more may occur without the others.
Experts believe that many factors play a role in conduct disorder. These are:
Some children with conduct disorders seem to have a problem in the frontal lobe of the brain. This interferes with a child’s ability to plan, stay away from harm, and learn from negative experiences.
A conduct disorder is more common in boys than in girls. It is also more likely to develop in children or teens who come from homes that are:
Children with these mental health problems are also more likely to have conduct disorder:
Children or teens who are considered to have a difficult temperament are more likely to develop behavior problems.
Most symptoms seen in children with conduct disorder also happen at times in children without this problem. But in children with the disorder, these symptoms occur more often. They also interfere with learning, school adjustment, and sometimes with the child’s relationships.
Each child’s symptoms may vary. But the 4 main groups of behaviors are:
These symptoms may look like other mental health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
A child psychiatrist or qualified mental health expert can diagnose a conduct disorder. He or she will talk with parents and teachers about the child’s behavior and may observe the child. In some cases, your child may need mental health testing.
If you notice symptoms of conduct disorder in your child or teen, you can help by seeking a diagnosis right away. Early treatment can often prevent future problems.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment for conduct disorder may include:
Experts don’t know exactly why some children develop conduct disorder. Things such as a traumatic experience, social problems, and biological factors may be involved. To reduce the risk for this disorder, parents can learn positive parenting strategies. This can help to create a closer parent-child relationship. It can also create a safe and stable home life for the child.
Early treatment for your child can often prevent future problems. Here are things you can do to help your child:
Call your healthcare provider right away if your child:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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