Conduct disorder is a disorder of childhood and adolescence that involves chronic behavior problems, such as:
- Defiant, impulsive, or antisocial behavior
- Drug use
- Criminal activity
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Conduct disorder has been associated with:
- Child abuse
- Family conflicts
- Genetic defects
- Parental drug addiction or alcoholism
The diagnosis is more common among boys.
It is hard to know how common the disorder is, because many of the qualities necessary to make the diagnosis (such as “defiance” and “rule breaking”) can be hard to define. For an accurate diagnosis, the behavior must be far more extreme than simple adolescent rebellion or boyish exuberance.
Conduct disorder is often associated with attention-deficit disorder. Both conditions carry a major risk for alcohol and/or other drug dependence.
Conduct disorder also can be an early sign of depression or bipolar disorder.
Children with conduct disorder tend to be impulsive, difficult to control, and unconcerned about the feelings of others.
Review Date : 1/15/2009
Reviewed By : Christos Ballas, MD, Attending Psychiatrist, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.