Friday, 2 June 2017

ABC's of the DSM-V: C is for Conduct Disorder.

Commonly referred to as a precursor to antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) which is something that has been covered in our “Sociopathy vs Psychopathy” post, conduct disorder (CD) is an age specific disorder that occurs when children or adolescents behave in age inappropriate behaviours that are usually deemed destructive and antisocial.  

In the post discussing ASPD, it was mentioned that sociopathy and ASPD are the same thing, and one of the predominant features of sociopathy is lack of remorse, guilt and empathy, and seem to only care about themselves rather than the effects of their actions.  An example is bullying or threatening people – they only care about themselves when confronted about their behaviours rather than considering the effect their actions have on their victims. There is a general pattern of aggressive behaviours (using weapons, being physically cruel, forcing sexual activity), destruction (pyromania, destroying property), deceitfulness (theft, lying) and a serious violation of the rules (truancy, running away, staying up all night). These behaviours are usually apparent in those of a younger age, anything over the age of 18 may well be considered for ASPD which is the biggest difference between these two disorders.
Our TV was already broken, perfect opportunity for stock photos hahaha
A lot of you will be holding on to the last part of diagnosis which is having a disregard for rules – staying out all night, running away from home etc. and will be asking – How can you tell the difference between a child who is just naughty or troubled, and a child with conduct disorder?
Well, the main difference is the seriousness in offences – children with CD will have to fit at least 3 points in the diagnostic criteria out of 15. Having just 1 or 2 which may seem like a child has it, such as bullying/threatening behaviour and stealing, is not enough for it to be considered conduct disorder. If your child does what’s stated there, it’s probably just a case of a naughtiness. It’s also important to note that these symptoms need to be present within the last 12 months with one being present within the last 6 months, so you will definitely notice a difference between the two.

Disclaimer: No cats were harmed in the making of this post (Bambi always looks perplexed).
The cause of CD is usually put down to violence in childhood, abuse and other similar exposures, one study states that CD has been the mediator between childhood exposure to domestic violence and schizophrenia in later life, so looking out for these things may give you an idea if your child or teen has CD or is just a troubled child who may just grow out of it in adulthood.

To treat CD, antipsychotics, mood stabilisers and benzodiazepines have been considered, most treatments are focused on treating aggressive behaviours, such as Olanzapine or other antipsychotics. Once the aggression is treated it’s a lot easier to use therapies for social skills or behaviour therapies to work.
It's a shame you can't see how cute my nails are :(
This is a short post, only because I can’t really think of much else to say about CD as a disorder, other than that it is good to be aware of behaviours that may lead to CD which can in turn lead to something like ASPD. Having this knowledge can help keep you on the lookout for certain things, but I wouldn’t worry too much since children are naughty and other disorders such as ADHD may be mistaken for aggression and defiance. I think once your child starts setting animals on fire and carrying a knife around in their teens just to intimidate others, you may be looking at CD, otherwise it’s a case of the joys of parenthood! 

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