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Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children & Adolescents

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General Facts:

  1. Of both Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder is the most severe, but ODD is also serious.
  2. The exact causes of these disorders are unknown, but some research suggests that they may be caused by a child's environment (such as community, school, or home).
  3. Determining whether or not your child has Conduct Disorder or ODD may be difficult to do for several reasons. First, signs of these disorders may be mistaken for other mental health conditions or typical childhood behaviors. Second, Conduct Disorder and ODD can occur at the same time as other physical or mental health conditions, such as substance abuse disorders and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

About Conduct Disorder:

  • Children & youth with Conduct Disorder tend to violate the rights of others, be aggressive toward others, and disobey laws and social rules.
  • If left untreated, Conduct Disorder can lead to difficulties with relationships, school, drug abuse, depression, suicide, and the law.
  • Conduct Disorder affects 1% - 4% of children and youth between ages 9 and 17.

Symptoms of Conduct Disorder include:

  • Fighting, bullying, intimidating, physically assaulting, sexually coercing, and being cruel to people & animals
  • Vandalism or deliberate destruction of property, theft, and truancy
  • Early tobacco, alcohol, and substance use & abuse
  • Precocious sexual activity, running away from home, prostitution
  • Poor relationships with peers & adults

About Oppositional Defiant Disorder:

  • Children or youth with ODD may be extremely stubborn, disobedient, and intentionally irritating and annoying to others.
  • If left untreated, ODD can lead to difficulties with relationships, school, and conduct disorder

Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder include:

  • Persistent defiance, disobedience, and hostility toward authority figures, such as parents, teachers, and other adults
  • Persistent fighting or arguing
  • Being easily annoyed
  • Being deliberately annoying, spiteful, or vindictive toward other people
  • Blaming others for mistakes
  • Being repeatedly and easily angry or resentful beyond what is considered age-appropriate

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