When a young person is struggling with conduct disorder, they can act in a variety of ways that are harmful or distressing for themselves or their loved ones. For example, they might show a consistent disregard for the rights and feelings of others, seem unable or unwilling to learn from negative experiences, and persistently break rules at home, work, or school.
While it is common for children and teens to occasionally violate rules or push social boundaries, the challenges posed by conduct disorder are much more serious. When someone has conduct disorder, they can struggle with disruptive behaviors that are frequent and serious enough to harm their functioning and well-being.
At Acadiana Treatment Center in Sunset, Louisiana, we provide superior residential treatment services for adolescents ages 12-17 who are suffering from conduct disorder.
Signs & Symptoms of Conduct Disorder
Every child or adolescent who struggles with conduct disorder experiences the symptoms in a unique way, with symptoms varying in type, frequency, and severity. Conduct disorder symptoms can appear prior to age 10, or they may emerge during the adolescent years.
The signs and symptoms of conduct disorder can include:
- Frequently getting into fights
- Sexual aggression
- Use of a weapon
- Animal cruelty
- Stealing from others
- Setting fires to cause damage
- Other property damage
- Intimidating or bullying others, including cyberbullying
- Manipulating others for personal gain
- Running away, staying out late, or skipping school
- Breaking into or trespassing on others’ property
If someone has been struggling with conduct disorder symptoms, they should seek professional care as soon as possible. An early diagnosis followed by effective treatment can help reduce the negative impacts of the disorder.
Conduct Disorder Statistics
According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), estimates of the one-year prevalence rate for conduct disorder range from 2% to more than 10% of the population. The DSM-5 also notes:
- Conduct disorder is more common among adolescents than among children.
- Conduct disorder is more common among males than among females.
- Young people who experience conduct disorder symptoms prior to age 10 are at higher risk for developing substance use disorders compared with those who have later symptom onset.
Additionally, young people who struggle with conduct disorder symptoms frequently suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the following statistics for U.S. children ages 3-17 in 2016:
- More than 1 in 3 children who had behavior problems also suffered from anxiety.
- Around 1 in 5 children who had behavior problems also had symptoms of depression.
Conduct Disorder Causes & Risk Factors
Experts have identified a variety of factors that may contribute to a person’s risk for developing conduct disorder. These include:
- Differences in brain structure and function
- Trauma or abuse
- Having an unstable home life
- Exposure to domestic violence
- Having another mental health disorder
- Having family members who have mental health disorders
However, a young person may also develop conduct disorder without having any obvious risk factors.
Potential Effects of Conduct Disorder
Left untreated, conduct disorder can make it hard for a child or adolescent to lead a healthy life that prepares them for a productive, happy adulthood. Often, conduct disorder interferes with a young person’s ability to safely participate in school, social, or family settings, and it can also lead to serious outcomes like health problems and legal consequences.
The potential effects of conduct disorder may include:
- Getting suspended or expelled from school
- Poor academic achievement
- Poor-quality relationships
- Substance abuse
- Legal problems
- Accidents and injuries
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Unintended pregnancy
- Struggling to keep a job
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Conduct disorder treatment can help a young person manage the symptoms they’ve been struggling with and avoid the social, physical, and emotional harm that might otherwise occur.
Therapies Used in Conduct Disorder Treatment
Conduct disorder treatment usually involves therapy that is tailored to meet the needs of the individual. Effective approaches can include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, and group therapy.
Key goals for conduct disorder treatment can include improving behavior, enhancing relationship skills, and learning positive coping strategies.
At our safe, supportive campus in Sunset, Louisiana, a young person’s treatment plan may include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Medication management services
Additionally, our treatment services may incorporate the following evidence-based therapies: CBT, motivational interviewing, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). To support our clients’ age-appropriate needs, our group sessions may cover topics like independent living skills, conflict resolution, boundaries, and social skills.
Our premier conduct disorder treatment center also offers academic services for our residents. And we incorporate detailed discharge planning into each young person’s stay, allowing us to facilitate a smooth transition out of treatment.
Why Choose Our Conduct Disorder Treatment Center
Seeking mental health treatment for a loved one can be stressful and overwhelming. At Acadiana Treatment Center, we want to help answer your questions and put your mind at ease about the level of quality care we provide. We understand that being informed about our services can help you make the best possible decision for your child and your family.
For adolescents who are struggling with conduct disorder, our treatment place offers a dignified and restorative environment for healing to occur. Young people in our program work with qualified professionals, such as licensed clinical social workers, licensed master social workers, licensed professional counselors, nursing staff, and psychiatrists.
We base admissions decisions and treatment planning on a thorough assessment of each young person’s needs. Once a young person begins care at our residential treatment center, we work with them in a person-centered way that honors their strengths, abilities, and preferences.
If your child may benefit from our compassionate conduct disorder treatment services, we encourage you to contact us today to learn more.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Acadiana Treatment Center.