Conduct DisorderDisorder conduct is a disease that occurs in young children and teenagers. Individuals suffering from this disorder exhibit socially defiant behavior and are usually impulsive. They do not follow any rules and, this is a common thing during children’s development.
It becomes conduct disorder it precedes for a long time. When the disorder lasts it ends up disrupting a child’s life or even their family. Society does not perceive these children as mentally ill instead they see them as delinquents or bad. A number of things can cause conduct disorder in a child (American Psychiatric Association, 2010). SymptomsConduct disorder has symptoms that differ according to age and time. It depends on how long a child has had the disorder and whether it is mild or severe. These symptoms fall under different categories depending on their severity. Aggressive behavior categorizes those behaviors that are a threat to physical health.
These behaviors including getting involved in fights, forcing others to do what you want such as rape or bullying, using weapons and being brutal to animals. They usually force their way and if they engaged in theft they would use force or a weapon (Hinshaw & Lee, 2003).Some behaviors such as the urge to destroy property by committing arson or vandalism fall under destructive behavior. Most destructive behaviors occur as a way of protesting a decision or humiliation. There is deceitful behavior that includes excessive and continuous lying and stealing.
A child may always feel the urge to shoplift while in a shopping center as a way to feel fulfilled. They normally do this without confronting or using any form of force. It may be a constant behavior that they always feel the urge to conduct. Some children, especially in the teen age, are always lying. They may not necessarily lie to get out of trouble but, avoid responsibility (Murrihy, Kidman, & Ollendick, 2010).Violation of rules is when children suffering from disorder conduct do not follow societal rules. They engage in behavior inappropriate for someone in that age such as running away, engaging in sex while still young or playing pranks.
Other symptoms include having low self-esteem, being irritable and frequently throwing tantrums. Temper tantrums come from lacking of attention or being denied something. Children will low self-esteem tend to take it out on other students by bullying. It gives them a sense of control and strength. Some will engage in alcohol or drug abuse. These children usually have no remorse or guilt for what they do (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2010).
They ignore the fact that their behavior may hurt other people. CausesConduct disorder comes as a result of a child’s surrounding and environmental factors. Different things such as child abuse, failure in school, brain damage, a traumatic experience in their life, or genetic vulnerability can be the cause of the disorder. It is not precise what exactly causes the disorder but a combination of different factors is what scientists have established. These factors include environmental, biological, social or genetic. Biological factors involve brain injury or defect.
When there are damages to particular areas of the brain, an individual’s character is usually affected. Interference with the character is what leads to disorder in conduct. Neurotransmitters are some of the chemicals associated with this disorder. These are special chemicals that help in communication in the brain. They aid in the communication of nerve cells inside the brain.
Interference in the brain may lead to the distortion of communication by these chemicals. Without balance, the chemicals will not work well in terms of transmitting messages through the cells. This automatically leads to symptoms associated with conduct disorder.
Conduct disorder in a number of teens and children leads to mental diseases such as anxiety disorder, depression, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or learning disorder, all which may contribute to the disorder in conduct (American Psychiatric Association, 2010). Genetics comes from hereditary inheritance where a child’s family has a history of mental illnesses. Family members who are close to them may have suffered from anxiety disorder, mood disorder, personality disorder or substance use and abuse. It leads these children to be vulnerable towards inheriting conduct disorder. It is important for a family to have this information that the child gets better attention during their development (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2010).
Environmental factors may be things such as child abuse, a dysfunctional family, substance abuse in the family, and a traumatizing experience. A family that abuses drugs may end up taking out their anger on the child by inconsistently punishing them. A family that is dysfunctional leaves the child confused and depressed. He or she may develop low self-esteem or become rebellious towards authority. Social factors are things like poverty and lack of friends. A child that comes from a socioeconomic status that is lower may have difficulty associating with other peers.
She may develop low self-esteem leading to her peers not accepting him or her (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2010).TreatmentTo diagnose conduct disorder, the above mentioned signs and symptoms must exist in the child. The presence of these symptoms will lead to an evaluation by the doctor of medical history and physical exam. Tests such as blood tests will determine a person’s medical history, or if they are allergic to any medication, which may be a side effect of the disorder. An X-ray will determine whether the patient has any physical damages especially to the brain.
The doctor will also examine the patient for other disorders that come as a result of conduct disorder (Murrihy, Kidman, & Ollendick, 2010). If there lacks an indication of physical injury, then the doctor refers the patient to a psychologist or a psychiatrist for mental treatment. Professionals in the mental health department usually have special tools and interviews that they use to evaluate a patient.
They often rely on the child’s behavior and attitude. They also use reports from parents and teachers to understand the child’s problems better. Treatment for the disorder depends on the symptoms’ severity and age of the child. It is also essential to note the child’s participation and tolerance in some therapy treatment. If a child does not participate fully, then the doctor needs to put the child in a different therapy.
The treatment needs to include the child’s family to ensure success and efficiency. It is because during the process, parents may gain ways on how to deal with their children’s behavior. In child abuse cases, the best approach is to remove the child from that environment (Murrihy, Kidman, & Ollendick, 2010).
Psychotherapy is one treatment intended to assist the child cope better with anger and learn how to express themselves in suitable ways. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy assists the child by reshaping their thinking. It helps them with anger management, improves their skills in solving problems, and how to control their impulses. If the whole family participates in therapy, then there will be better communication and interaction between the family members. Inclusive of treatment is a Parent Management Training (PMT) that helps parents learn how to positively change the behavior of the child at home without using drastic measures (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2010).
Parents are also made aware of schools of behavioral modification, boot camps and other programs to help deal with conduct disorder. These type of programs usually use confrontation or a type of ‘attack therapy’ that is more harmful than helpful. It is important for a parent to check out an inpatient program before enrolling their child in it. Some of these programs have led to deaths and injuries. It is more effective to treat children in their own environment and with their families. Medication is the other treatment towards conduct disorder. There is no specific drug assigned for conduct disorder but, some medication can treat stressful symptoms or other disorders such as depression, and ADHD (Eyberg, Nelson, & Boggs, 2008).
PreventionPrevention of conduct disorder may not necessarily be possible but recognition of these symptoms by people close to the child by lead to quick action against associated problems. A family that knows their family history in terms of mental health has a better chance of preventing vulnerability to conduct disorder by their children. They may do this by taking the child for an early diagnosis for any mental illness (WebMD, 2012). The best way to prevent conduct disorder is to start early treatment for the affected child. It will allow them the chance to learn adaptive ways of coping with their environment and, in turn avoid complications.
It is also important to provide a supportive and stable environment by showing the child love and balancing it with discipline during their development.