Health Resources > Conduct Disorder


What is Conduct Disorder?

Conduct Disorder is a pattern of behavior that involves violation of the basic rights of others or societal norms, and begins before age 18.

Many of the Conduct Disorder symptoms are behaviors that harm others and get the child in trouble with the law.

Conduct Disorder symptoms include:

  • Bullying others
  • Initiating physical fights
  • Use of a weapon in fight
  • Physically cruel to people or animals
  • Forced sexual activity
  • Theft
  • Fire setting
  • Vandalism
  • Breaking others property on purpose
  • Breaking into someone else's car, building, or house
  • Excessive lying, or "conning" others
  • Stays out past parents curfew (starting before age 13)
  • Run away from home
  • Skipping school (starting before age 13)

An child with Conduct Disorder, has had three or more persistent symptoms that cause problems for their family, peers, school, and/or work.

How common is Conduct Disorder?

  • About 1 in 31 children have Conduct Disorder. This is one of the most frequent conditions diagnosed at mental health treatment facilities.
  • About half of children with Conduct Disorder also have ADHD.

What are the common treatments for Conduct Disorder?

  • Medication: stimulant medications like methylphenidate are an FDA approved treatment for ADHD. Stimulants may also help children with both Conduct Disorder and ADHD.
  • Parent Training: teaches parents how they can manage their child's behavior and environment to reduce Conduct Disorder symptoms.
  • Education: educating families about how to anticipate developmental challenges that are difficult for ADHD children, and about ways to improve the child’s academic and behavioral functioning.
  • Individual Psychotherapy: by a clinician helps the child understand his/her emotions and actions, and how to deal with both.
  • Family Therapy: fosters mutual support, positive reinforcement, direct communication, and more effective problem solving and conflict resolution.
  • Social Skills Training: teaches the child to identify problems, recognize causation, appreciate consequences and consider alternate ways of handling difficult situations.

What are some things families can do at home to increase the success of children with ADHD?

  • Talk about what is happening right now.
  • Use short explanation (10 words or less)
  • Say exactly what you want.
  • Speak calmly and clearly.
  • Make eye contact and be aware of your body language.
  • Focus on solutions, not problems.
  • Ask questions and get feedback.
  • Keep a routine and communicate that routine to the child so he/she knows what to expect.
  • Keep the house organized, keep everything in its place.
  • Be consistent in how you enforce rules of the household.
  • Look for opportunities to provide praise or small rewards for good behavior.
  • Avoid punishment without the child understanding why he/she is receiving them.
  • See the child as a whole person with strengths and weaknesses.

In addition to your child's doctor, where can you go for help?

In the greater San Antonio area:

In New Orleans, LA:

  • New Orleans School-Age Assessment Service (NO-SAS)



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