Common Symptoms of Conduct Disorder

Conduct disorder is a serious condition that affects an estimated 9.5% of the population. It usually affects children by early adolescence. Most children outgrow the condition, but some carry these traits into adulthood. Children may be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder if the condition doesn’t improve or worsens.

conduct disorder

People with conduct disorder show a disregard for the rights and well-being of others. It is important to understand the symptoms to recognize people suffering from it. Here are some common traits of people suffering from conduct disorder.

Propensity for Violence

Children that suffer from conduct disorder tend to be much more aggressive than others. According to the DMS-V, they may bully, threaten or physically assault others.

This is one of the most common traits of people suffering from conduct disorder. However, people with the condition may exhibit traits of violence to different degrees. Some children with conduct disorder may engage in minor fights. However, others may use weapons or exhibit cruelty towards animals. They may also use violence when engaging in other crimes such as burglary.

Fascination With Starting Fires

Children with conduct disorder tend to be fascinated with setting things on fire. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention states that most correctional and treatment programs believe that juvenile fire setting is caused by children suffering from behavioral or personality disorders such as conduct disorder.

These studies show that the underlying disorder needs to be treated to keep children from committing arson. This is a serious problem that will need to be addressed, because data from arson investigators have found that fires started by child arsonists kill hundreds of people and cause millions of dollars of damage each year.

Tendency to Steal

Stealing is also a common behavior among children suffering from conduct disorder. Here are some of the traits listed in the DSM-V:

  • Forced entry into a vehicle or building to steal property.
  • Theft by deception
  • Stealing by stealth without breaking and entering

This is one of the most common crimes associated with people affected by conduct disorder.

Complete Disregard for Rules

People diagnosed with conduct disorder tend to have little respect for rules. They are more likely to run away; get in trouble at school; or show a lack of respect for parents, teachers and other authority figures.

The DSM-V criteria state that rule-breaking behavior tends to occur around 13 years of age. However, some children with the condition may show these signs earlier.

Conditions Can Be Treated

Conduct disorder used to be a difficult condition to treat. Some studies showed that fewer than 15% of males with the disorder recovered by late adolescence and avoided meeting the criteria necessary to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

However, treatment methods have improved considerably over the last few years. Recent studies have shown that most people suffering from the disorder are rehabilitated. They may show some behavioral problems into adulthood and be diagnosed with other personality disorders, but don’t usually end up being diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.

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