Conduct disorders

Conduct disorders

Conduct disorders 2000 1333 Team Mindsum
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Last updated: 4 January 2021

What are conduct disorders?

Causes of conduct disorders

The symptoms of conduct disorders

Treating conduct disorders

List of useful resources

How Mindsum can help?

What are conduct disorders?

When a child has a conduct disorder, it is different from when a child is occasionally naughty and sometimes has tantrums. Conduct disorders refer to a set of disruptive and violent behavioural problems in the child that is severe and continues to persist over time.

Conduct disorders are known as the most common mental health disorders in children and young people. There are two types of this disorder: Conduct disorder (CD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

Conduct Disorder (CD) refers to a repetitive pattern of behaviour, where the child or young person acts in a way that is anti-social by disobeying, causing harm or distress to themselves or others and does not act normal according to their age.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) refers to a less severe form of CD in younger children, where there is a repetitive pattern of disobeying, arguing and opposing parents and people in authority.

Causes of conduct disorders

The cause of conduct disorders is unknown. It likely involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. These are some factors that increase the risk of developing this disorder:

Individual characteristics

  • It is more common in boys than in girls

  • Co-existing problems with learning

  • Co-existing mental health conditions

  • Co-existing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is common in conduct disorders

Family influences

  • Has a parent or sibling with a conduct disorder

  • Physical or sexual abuse

  • Rejection or harsh criticism from parents

  • Exposed to conflict between parents

  • Poverty in the family

Other risk factors

  • Being bullied

  • Physical or sexual abuse outside of the family

  • Involvement with other young people with behavioural problems

  • Using recreational drugs

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