Conduct disorders (CD) are one of the clinical disorders included in the most widely used diagnostic manuals in practice (ICD-10 and DSM-V).
The TC refers to a set of emotional and behavioral alterations that occur repeatedly and persistently in the person’s daily life, involving the development of actions that violate the rights of others, go against the prevailing norms in their environment or violate the social rules by which we control and modulate our behaviors in order to adapt to our context.
What causes conduct disorder?
There is no single factor that can predict or explain the occurrence of this type of disorder. In fact, the investigations that have been carried out so far point to a multitude of causes that may be present and that are considered as risk factors for diagnosis.
Specifically, we can indicate that there are:
- Biological factors (psychopathological antecedents of the parents, perinatal difficulties, biochemical alterations or dysfunctions in the areas responsible for executive function, etc.).
- Temperamental and personality factors (difficult temperament, impulsivity, sensation seeking, cognitive distortions, deficits in social skills, presence of other concomitant disorders, etc).
- Cognitive factors (problems in the processing of social information and its encoding, difficulties in problem solving, positive evaluation of violent behaviors, etc.).
- Family factors (problems in the couple’s relationship, inconsistency in the use of authoritarian educational guidelines, poor involvement in children’s education, etc.).
- Social factors (rejection by peers, identification with conflictive peer group, substance abuse, participation in antisocial behavior, etc).
Can they appear at any age?
Generally, conduct disorders are one of the main causes of clinical attention in children and adolescents.
However, this diagnosis can be applied to adults, although it is necessary to rule out that the person does not meet the diagnostic criteria established, according to DSM-V, for “Antisocial Personality Disorder”.
What are the symptoms of conduct disorder?
This type of disorder is very striking and easily perceptible, given that the behavior of the individual will clash with the prevailing norms in the different spheres that make up his or her life (family, academic and social).
Generally, it is the parents who come for consultation seeking advice, given the interference they perceive in the normal development of their children.
The main behaviors presented involve aggression or harm to other people or animals, destruction of property, cheating and/or stealing and non-compliance with the rules of the individual’s age.
In addition, it should be noted that this type of behavior generates an evident emotional discomfort both in the subject who develops it and in those around him/her. This is the reason why we find an important personal, family, social and academic/labor destabilization.
For this reason we advise that, if parents perceive this type of behavior in their children, they should see a mental health specialist as soon as possible.
In general terms, the ideal is to carry out an intervention that integrates all the agents involved in the individual’s life (parents, teachers, educators, caregivers and psychologist).
The research carried out and the existing literature on the intervention of this type of disorder, together with our own experience, lead us to recommend a “cognitive-behavioral” intervention aimed not only at the re-education of maladaptive behaviors, but also at the improvement of the individual’s own competencies that will allow him/her to develop more adequate social skills, reinforce personal resources and acquire new skills that will help him/her to adapt to the environment.
Likewise, in parallel, we consider it essential to carry out personalized and direct work with the family group, where we can provide tools to parents and develop joint strategies that favor the establishment of a satisfactory family climate.
Finally, we cannot forget the need to coordinate with educational agents, since we are aware of the importance of this area in these stages of development.