What is Conduct Disorder?
In children or adolescents with conduct disorder (CD), a general lack of respect for authority is reflected by very serious behavioral problems such as stealing, lying, harming animals, or destroying property. These young people may often be considered a "bully" at school or at home; they might intimidate or threaten others, start fights, be physically cruel to either people or animals, and/or engage in criminal-type behavior like vandalism or mugging. Other criminal behaviors might include forcing someone to have sex against his or her will, setting fires that could cause damage or hurt people, shoplifting, forging checks, and breaking into someone else's car, home, or building.
The child or adolescent may also disobey curfews, run away from home, or be truant from school. To qualify for a diagnosis of CD, the types of behaviors described above should significantly interfere with a child or adolescent's academic or social functioning, and should have persisted for at least 6 months.
For specific treatment options, please refer to this table
Example of Conduct Disorder
Although 13 year-old Michael has always been described by his mother as being somewhat disrespectful and "sneaky", his behavior has grown much worse in the last year. Since Michael entered middle school he began stealing from his parents, classmates, and even teachers. He was caught shoplifting at a department store once, but was only given a warning. His mother believes he is still shoplifting, though, because he brings home video games but does not have money to purchase them. Despite his parents' curfew and repeated attempts to enforce punishment, Michael comes home whenever he wants to at night. While he does not often get into fights in the neighborhood or at school, Michael recently tried to hit a boy in the head with his baseball bat over a small argument. No matter what they try, his parents cannot seem to get him to behave.