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What is the definition of conduct disorder?

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Quick Answer

Conduct disorder is a behavioral and emotional disorder that leads to children engaging in long-lasting behavior that violates others, goes beyond what is considered acceptable behavior and leads to disruptions in the lives of children and their families, notes WebMD. Children with conduct disorder have problems with following the rules and may be violent and disruptive.

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Full Answer

Irritability, low self-esteem and temper tantrums are often present in children with conduct disorder, states WebMD. These children do not see how their behavior is hurting others and experience little guilt or feelings of remorse. They may engage in aggressive behavior such as fighting, bullying, forcing others into sexual acts, cruelty to animals and weapon use. Children with conduct disorder may also lie, steal and engage in destructive behavior such as arson and vandalism.

Conduct disorder can also cause children to violate rules by running away, becoming sexually active at a young age, using drugs and alcohol or skipping school, according to WebMD. Doctors do not know what causes conduct disorder, as of 2015, but believe that a combination of social, psychological, environmental, biological and genetic factors lead to the condition. Boys are at higher risk of suffering from conduct disorder than girls, and the condition normally strikes children during their late childhood or early teenage years.

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