A conduct disorder is characterized by repetitive aggressive and destructive actions such as aggression towards people or animals, destruction of property, theft, lying and breaking home and school rules by running away or engaging in truancy. The cause is unknown but can be related to other disorders such as ADHD and linked to a significant level of family dysfunction, but this is not always the case. Like many similar afflictions, conduct disorders can range in severity from the mild to the very serious.
Unsurprisingly, children with severe conduct disorder function poorly in society, their actions conflicting, sometimes dangerously, with those around them. This can result in a vicious cycle as their community (teachers, peers, family members and authorities) reject and/or punish the individual who subsequently becomes more angry and destructive. Such behaviours often result in the child’s removal from the family home, placement in a specialist institution and/or entrance into the juvenile justice system.
For such a complex disorder, a holistic approach is required, encompassing a variety of treatments. Medication can be effective in controlling aggression, but non-medical treatment is essential, involving a ‘joined-up’ approach from members of the overlapping circles of the child’s environment, such as teachers, police and social services. ABA can teach children how to cope with their anger and destructive tendencies through problem solving and family therapy can be employed to assist parents with applying effective structures and how to play with and coach their child. Contact us today to see how we can help.