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What is Conduct Disorder?

Conduct disorder is usually diagnosed in early childhood or adolescence, and is characterised by a young person showing longstanding disruptive and aggressive behaviours. This pattern of behaviour is a challenge to parents and teachers, as the person tends to disregard rules and is unconcerned about the consequences of their behaviour for others. The young person's conduct can lead to worsening behaviour as they grow into adulthood. At Priory, we focus on early diagnosis and treatment to help the family manage the young person's behaviour.

Treatment for conduct disorder at Priory includes a series of behavioural and family therapy techniques. We ensure that we select the mental health professional who is best suited to complete a comprehensive assessment of the young person and family's needs, meaning that treatment is tailored and results in the best possible outcomes. The flexible locations of Priory's hospitals and wellbeing centres, as part of our nationwide network, means that you can access support for your child in a location that's convenient for you. The goal of treatment is to improve the young person's behaviour in social settings, and support parents to find the best ways to communicate and manage the young person's behaviour at home.

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Does my Child have Conduct Disorder?

Many people, including teachers, peers and family members, may observe the young person being poorly behaved, without realising they may have a mental health condition. Young people with conduct disorder can often appear to be confident and forthright when interacting with others, although the deep seated problem is actually one of insecurity. The teen may be reacting in accordance to perceived intimidation or aggressiveness towards them. 

Young children with conduct disorder typically display signs of aggressive or violent behaviour as soon as they are physically able to, including pushing, hitting or biting others. As a child develops into adolescence, behaviour may include extreme bullying of others, hurting animals, regularly starting fights, theft and vandalism.

This page was clinically reviewed by Clinical Psychologist, Alison Sampson, in April 2022.

Treatment for Conduct Disorder at Priory
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What is Conduct Disorder?
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What are the Symptoms of Conduct Disorder?
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What Causes Conduct Disorder?
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