Patient Care

Conduct Disorder

What are Conduct Disorders?

Conduct Disorders are behavioural and emotional disorders that may occur in teenagers and children. An individual with Conduct Disorder displays a myriad of disruptive and aggressive behaviours, and may have difficulties adhering to rules.

It is common for these individuals to also experience behaviour problems during their early development. The problem is considered to be a Conduct Disorder when it is pervasive and when the behaviour violates others' rights or is not socially accepted, and has an impact on the individual's and family's overall functioning.

What are the signs & symptoms of Conduct Disorders?

The symptoms may vary depending on the age of the child, and severity of the disorder (mild, moderate, or severe). The symptoms fall into four general categories:

Aggressive behaviour

Behaviours that cause physical harm to others and may include instigating or partaking in fights, bullying, being cruel towards others or animals, using weapons, or forcing others into sexual activity.

Destructive behaviour

Intentional destruction of property through deliberate arson or vandalism.

Deceitful behaviour

Repeated lying, shoplifting, stealing.

Violation of rules

Going against accepted social rules of society or engaging in behaviour that is not appropriate for the person's age, such as truancy, smoking/alcohol/ drugs, or being sexually active at a very young age.

Individuals with Conduct Disorders might also appear irritable, have low self-esteem, and tend to display temper tantrums. They may also experience difficulties understanding how their behaviour can cause hurt to others, and generally show little guilt or remorse about their actions.

What are the treatment options for Conduct Disorders?

It is recommended for the child to receive a comprehensive treatment plan involving multiple treatment modalities so as to achieve the best outcome. Conduct disorder is manageable with a supportive network of caregivers, school personnel, and peers.

Some examples of treatment include:

  • Pharmacological treatment
  • Psychoeducation for persons involved in child's development (caregivers, school personnel, peers)
  • Psychosocial interventions (e.g. parent training programmes, classroom behaviour management)
  • Psychotherapy (e.g. behaviour modification, family therapy)
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Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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