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Conduct Disorder

     Conduct disorder is a complicated group of behavioral and emotional problems in youngsters. Children and adolescents with this disorder have great difficulty following rules and behaving in a socially acceptable way. They are often viewed by other children, adults and social agencies as "bad" or delinquent, rather than mentally ill.

     Children or adolescents with conduct disorder may exhibit some of the following behaviors:

Aggression to people and animals
* bullies, threatens or intimidates others
* often initiates physical fights
* has used a weapon that could cause serious physical harm to others (e.g. a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife or gun)
* is physically cruel to people or animals
* steals from a victim while confronting them (e.g. assault)
* forces someone into sexual activity

Destruction of Property
* deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention to cause damage
* deliberately destroys other's property

Deceitfulness, lying, or stealing
* has broken into someone else's building, house, or car
* lies to obtain goods, or favors or to avoid obligations
* steals items without confronting a victim (e.g. shoplifting, but without breaking and entering)

Serious violations of rules
* often stays out at night despite parental objections
* runs away from home
* often truant from school

     Children who exhibit these behaviors should receive a comprehensive evaluation.
Treatment is rarely brief since establishing new attitudes and behavior patterns takes time. However, early treatment offers a child a better chance for considerable improvement and hope for a more successful future.

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