Successful treatment requires close involvement of the child’s family. Parents can learn techniques to help manage their child’s problem behavior.
In cases of abuse, the child may need to be removed from the family and placed in a less chaotic environment. Treatment with medications or talk therapy may be used for depression and attention-deficit disorder, which commonly accompany conduct disorder.
Many “behavioral modification” schools, “wilderness programs,” and “boot camps” are sold to parents as solutions for conduct disorder. These may use a form of “attack therapy” or “confrontation,” which can actually be harmful. There is no research support for such techniques. Research suggests that treating children at home, along with their families, is more effective.
If you are considering an inpatient program, be sure to check it out thoroughly. Serious injuries and deaths have been associated with some programs. They are not regulated in many states.
Children who have severe or frequent symptoms tend to have the poorest outlook. Expectations are also worse for those who have other illnesses, such as mood and drug abuse disorders.
Children with conduct disorder may go on to develop personality disorders as adults, particularly antisocial personality disorder. As their behaviors worsen, these individuals may also develop significant drug and legal problems. Depression and bipolar disorder may develop in adolescence and early adulthood.
Calling Your Health Care Provider
See your health care provider if your child:
- Continually gets in trouble
- Has mood swings
- Is bullying others
- Is being victimized
- Seems to be overly aggressive
Early treatment may help.
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.