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Conduct disorder leads to repetitive bad behavior

How to help a child overcome conduct disorder

Conduct disorder is a mental health condition that affects children and adolescents. It is characterized by repetitive and persistent patterns of behavior that violate the basic rights of others. Conduct disorder can cause significant impairment in social, academic, and occupational functioning. 

While there is no single cause for conduct disorder, certain factors appear to increase the risk. Treatment options are available, but early diagnosis and intervention are critical for a successful outcome. If you suspect your child or adolescent may have conduct disorder, it is important to seek professional help.

What is conduct disorder and what are the symptoms

Conduct disorder is a mental disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of defiant, aggressive, or destructive behaviors. Individuals with conduct disorder may engage in a variety of behaviors, including physical aggression, theft, lying, truancy and vandalism. 

Conduct disorder typically begins in childhood or adolescence, and it can continue into adulthood if left untreated. The exact cause of conduct disorder is unknown, but it is believed to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Symptoms of conduct disorder vary depending on the individual, but may include a lack of remorse, impulsivity, and a disregard for authority. Treatment for conduct disorder typically includes medication and/or therapy. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

What causes conduct disorder

There are several possible causes of conduct disorder. Genetics may play a role, as conduct disorder is more common in people with a family history of the condition. Brain structure and function may also be factors, as conduct disorder has been linked to abnormalities in certain areas of the brain. 

Children in abusive homes are more likely to develop conduct disorder
Photo by RODNAE Productions

Environmental factors, such as poverty or witnessing violence, may also contribute to the development of conduct disorder. Treatments for conduct disorder typically involve a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and behavioral therapy.

This disorder is more common in males than females. Studies show that the rate among boys ranges from 6% to 16% in the general population, and 2% – 9% in girls.  Conduct disorder can lead to serious problems in adulthood if it goes untreated.

How is this disorder treated

Treatment for conduct disorder typically involves a combination of medication, counseling, and behavioral therapy. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Medications that are commonly used to treat conduct disorder include antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. 

Counseling can help patients to learn how to cope with their emotions in a healthy way and to develop healthier patterns of behavior. Behavioral therapy may involve teaching patients how to manage their impulses and to control their behavior in order to avoid problems.

Therapy may help children with conduct disorder
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

In some cases, patients may also benefit from family therapy or group therapy. With treatment, patients with conduct disorder can learn to lead healthier and more productive lives. In severe cases, conduct disorder can be effectively treated with a combination of these methods.

How can you help a child who has been diagnosed with conduct disorder

If your child has been diagnosed with conduct disorder, there are a number of things you can do to help.

First, it is important to create a stable and consistent routine for your child. This will help to provide structure and order in his/her life. 

Additionally, you should try to provide opportunities for your child to express their emotions in a healthy way. This could involve playing sports, painting, or writing. This will help your child to learn to play fair and also teamwork. 

You can also encourage positive behavior by providing compliments and rewards when your child demonstrates good conduct.

Finally, it is crucial to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who can assist your child in learning how to cope with their conduct disorder in a healthy way.

Where can you find more information about conduct disorder

As we have seen so far, this disorder can cause significant problems in children and adolescents. Fortunately, there are many more resources and information available about conduct disorder than there were in the past. 

One of the best places to start is the website of the National Institute of Mental Health. The website has a wealth of resources about different mental health disorders and other mental health issues. 

In addition, there are many support groups available for both parents and children with conduct disorder. These groups can provide invaluable guidance and support. As we all know, it is a little bit easier to deal with something when you know that you are not alone. These groups are there to provide just that. 

Finally, there are many books and articles available on the topic of conduct disorder. You may search these articles online or try visiting your local bookstore to buy books on the subject. These can be a great way to learn more about the disorder and how to best help your child.


That’s a lot of information to take in, but we hope that you now have a better understanding of what conduct disorder is and how it can be treated. If you are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with CD or if you think your child may have CD, please share your experiences and views in the comment section below. 

We would love to hear from you. Alternatively, if you are a professional working with children who have CD, we would also love to hear from you about the best way to treat this condition.

2 thoughts to “How to help a child overcome conduct disorder”

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