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Conduct Disorders

Children and teens who have conduct disorder behave in defiant and disruptive ways, such as violating social rules or hurting other people, for a period of 6 months or longer. Younger children who have oppositional defiant disorder are sometimes later diagnosed with conduct disorder. Adults who have antisocial personality disorder often show signs of conduct disorder in childhood.

What are the symptoms of conduct disorder?

Children and teens with conduct disorder may:

  • Harm or threaten to harm other people or animals, by bullying or threatening people, initiating physical fights or being cruel to animals.
  • Cause property damage or loss, by deliberately causing a fire or otherwise destroying property.
  • Lie, cheat or steal, by breaking into someone’s house, shoplifting, and/or lying to obtain things they want or to avoid consequences.
  • Violate household or social rules, by staying out at night without permission from their parents, running away from home, or being absent from school without permission.

Treatment for conduct disorder may include training for parents on how to handle the child or teen’s behavior, counseling for the child or teen, family counseling and a special treatment plan in school. Some children and teens who have conduct disorder have other conditions such at attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression or anxiety, which also may need to be identified.

Get help now

If you are unable to manage your conduct disorder symptoms on your own, consider seeking professional help.

Call the Behavioral Health HelpLine at 260-471-9440 or 800-284-8439 anytime 24 hours a day. Our assessment specialists are available to guide you to the appropriate level of care or resources to support you.