Some people, especially adolescents or young adults, may be prone to behavioral and emotional issues that cause them to act in socially unacceptable ways. Individuals with conduct disorder (CD) often exhibit disruptive behavior when engaging with others. Studies have shown that CD “is characterized by a pattern of behaviors that demonstrate aggression and violation of the rights of others and evolves over time.” Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses psychotherapy and other evidence-based treatments to address CD and co-occurring conditions.

What Are Conduct Disorders?

Studies have shown conduct disorder (CD) “lies on a spectrum of disruptive behavioral disorders, which also include oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).” CD is primarily diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 10 and 18. Children younger than ten may display some symptoms of CD. According to Child Psychiatry and Human Development, “Approximately 3-7% of preschool children meet criteria for CD.”

The exact cause of CD is unknown. However, some risk factors include:

  • Parental neglect or abuse
  • Social pressure
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Nutrition deficiencies
  • Genetics
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Brain damage or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Environmental factors

Early symptoms of CD are often noticed at a very young age. However, children and young adults can develop CD at any point. Experiencing traumatic events, severe injury, acute stressors, or other significant life changes increases the risk of children or young adults developing CDs and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Conduct Disorders and Antisocial Behaviors

CDs are characterized by self-focused and socially unacceptable behaviors, including aggression, manipulation, and destructive actions. Below are brief descriptions of the typical antisocial behaviors exhibited by individuals with conduct disorders.

#1. Aggressive Behaviors

Individuals with CDs often display aggressive or violent behaviors, including:

  • Physical abuse, harassment, or assault
  • Verbal abuse or harassment
  • Attacking or threatening others with a weapon
  • Bullying or intimidating behaviors
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault or abuse
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Sexual exploitation

Young people with CD may find these types of abusive and aggressive behaviors gratifying. Disregarding the needs and feelings of others is a prominent characteristic of CD. According to the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, “[Y]outh CD is associated with antisocial personality disorder” in adulthood. Unaddressed CD often leads to adult psychopathology, antisocial behaviors, and negative outcomes. Early intervention and treatment is the best way to avoid long-term adverse side effects of CD and related mental health issues.

#2. Destructive Behaviors

Individuals with CD often engage in destructive behaviors, including destroying and vandalizing property or stealing. The destruction may be a form of self-expression, a means to an end, or to cause suffering. Some adolescents or young adults with CDs use arson and other methods to destroy property.

#3. Deceitful Behaviors

Deceptive behaviors include stealing, lying, and cheating. People with CDs often feel little remorse when invading the privacy or property of others. Some individuals find it exciting to abuse and violate the rights of others, making them more likely to engage in deceitful behaviors that cause emotional distress or physical harm. People with CDs have little or no empathy for others and may even see themselves in a negative way. Many people with CDs have low self-esteem. Lying or other forms of deceitful behaviors may be used to help them feel better about themselves or make them appear more powerful to others.

#4. Rule Violations and Age Inappropriate Behavior

People with CDs often violate rules and act in age-inappropriate ways, including predatory sexual behaviors. Individuals with CDs may manipulate others into also breaking societal norms through peer pressure or other means. People with CDs have a very low frustration tolerance, making them more likely to engage in rule-breaking against individuals or institutions they feel wronged them in some way.

Who Is at Risk of Developing Conduct Disorders?

Many factors contribute to the development of CDs. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, “Various risk factors for developing CD in future are early adolescent substance use, high-intensity argument/defiant behavior, both low- and high-intensity aggression to people/animals, high-intensity deceitfulness/stealing, high-intensity peer problems, high-intensity destruction of property, and inappropriate sexual behavior.” Adolescents and young adults are most likely to be affected by severe, persistent, or complex CDs.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Recognizing the Signs of Conduct Disorders

CDs generally begin at a very young age. However, some young adults develop CDs after experiencing trauma or other stressors. The specific symptoms vary depending on multiple factors, including age and gender.

Some potential signs of CDs include:

  • Setting fires
  • Chronic lying and manipulation
  • Bully, aggressive, or threatening behavior toward peers or adults
  • Ignoring curfew
  • Truancy
  • Trespassing
  • Cruelty toward animals and people
  • Angry outbursts, including yelling and property damage
  • Running away from home
  • Substance abuse

According to MedlinePlus, “Children with conduct disorder tend to be impulsive, hard to control, and not concerned about the feelings of other people.”

Treatment Options at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab treats young adults over 18 who have been diagnosed with primary or secondary CDs. Clients often go through multiple stages of treatment, stepping down to new programs as they begin to heal and grow.

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers the following treatment programs and services:

  • Residential treatment (RTC)
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient
  • Sober living community
  • Aftercare planning
  • Alumni support
  • Case management
  • Psychotherapy
  • Family therapy and support services
  • Psychoeducation
  • Peer support

Clients are provided with the tools and resources to develop essential skills and manage CDs. Family therapy is often an important aspect of treatment for CDs. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab encourages clients and their loved ones to actively participate in treatment and heal together.