by Dr. Aarohi Vachhrajani

Conduct Disorder is a serious mental health disorder which generally occurs during childhood and teens.

Conduct Disorder


The child with conduct disorder has repetitive and persistent behavioural patterns in which the rights and rules for others are violated.

  • It is the serious behavioural and emotional disorder which generally occurs in children and teens.
  • It’s otherwise known as “Antisocial Personality Disorder.”


What is a Conduct Disorder?


  • It is a repetitive, antisocial behavioural disorder which occurs in children and teens.
  • It’s a combined group of behavioural disorders.
  • The children who have conduct disorder are having difficulty in following rules, timings and social manners.
  • Their antisocial behaviour can make people uncomfortable to deal with them, even its difficulty for their family also.
  • The child or teen with conduct disorder can not easily be accepted socially if the disorder is not treated on time due to their behaviour.


Types Of Conduct Disorder

The conduct disorder can be divided mainly into 3 types.

They are following :

  1. Childhood Onset Of Conduct Disorder
  2. Adolescents Onset Of Conduct Disorder
  3. Unspecified Onset Of Conduct Disorder



  1. Childhood Onset Of Conduct Disorder 
  • The childhood onset can be considered when the age of the child is below 10 years.
  • When the conduct disorder occurs in childhood it makes it a little easier to diagnose and also to treat.
  1. Adolescents Onset Of Conduct Disorder 
  • It generally appears when the Conduct Disorder can occur after 10 years or during the teen age.
  1. Unspecified Onset Of Conduct Disorder 
  • There is no particular time period for occurring the disorder.
  • It can occur at any age that’s why it is called the unspecified conduct disorder.


  • Causes Of Conduct Disorder 



  • Conduct disorder can be caused mainly by a combination of 5 factors.
  • They are following:
  1. Biological
  2. Psychological
  3. Environmental
  4. Social
  5. Genetic
  • In Fact According to some studies the neurological disorders can occur due to damage or trauma caused on certain brain areas.
  • The damage can cause imbalance between the brain and nerves which is responsible for neurological disorder.
  • Sometimes conduct can occur along with ADHD, Anxiety, Learning Disability ,Depression etc.
  • It can also occur due to the family history of mental illness.


  • Sign And Symptoms Of Conduct Disorder


  • There are some particular signs and symptoms of conduct disorder which helps in diagnosis of the disease.
  • They are following:
  1. Aggression towards People and Animals
  • The patient’s behaviour is very aggressive; he/she initiates fights , violent behaviour towards the humans and animals.
  • Physical hitting, throwing harmful objects on others etc.
  1. Thrift or Deceitfulness
  • In this the patient can act like a cone.
  • Yeah maybe he/she is not aware of this but they start conning the things and even breaking the useful things of others.
  1. Property Destruction
  • The patient causes harm or breaks others’ valuable stuff.
  • Sometimes they are not aware of what they are doing but due to conduct disorder they behave like this.
  1. Serious violations of rules
  • In this the patient can start breaking rules whether they are academic, social or even family rules.
  • They start behaving like they don’t care.
  • And they enjoy breaking rules like coming home late at night , escaping social responsibilities, skipping academic work etc.
  • Excessive lying is also one of the major symptoms of CD.


  • Diagnosis Of Conduct Disorder 



  • It is generally self diagnosable.
  • On the basis of symptoms, diagnosis can be made.
  • The family doctor can advise the child psychiatrist or psychologist if they see severe changes in behaviour.
  • There are no other clinical tests like MRI or CT scan that can be done to diagnose the CD.
  • There are some assessment scales which used to conform to the condition.
  • They are following:
  1. The Child Behaviour Checklist
  2. The Disruptive behaviour Disorders rating Scale
  3. The national institute for child’s health quality Vanderbilt assessment scale
  • All these are assessment scales which used to diagnose the CD.
  • The main diagnosis can be dependent on the severity of symptoms.


  • Risk Factors



  • There are some risk factors of Conduct Disorder.
  • They are following:
  1. Child abuse
  2. Childhood trauma
  3. Child neglect
  4. Excessive comparison
  5. Harassment in school
  6. Performance pressure in school
  7. Family issues or scattered family
  8. Parental separation
  9. Boys are twice at risk to develop CD then girls.
  10. Low IQ or experience.
  • All these above mentioned are the risk factors of Conduct disorder.
  • If one can find any symptom like conduct then they should immediately contact the doctor or child psychologist.
  • Proper treatment can manage the disorder though this is not completely curable disease but it can be managed.
  • Disorder is the root cause of misbehaviour not children, so stop neglecting the child and start caring for them.
  • Read more about Tourette Syndrome: Causes and Medications