Conduct disorder (CD) is a behavioral disorder (sometimes diagnosed in childhood) that is characterized by antisocial behaviors that often violate age-appropriate social standards and rules.
Antisocial behaviors may include irresponsibility, violating other’s rights (such as theft), delinquent behaviors (such as running away), and/or physical aggression towards others. Often, several or all of these symptoms can occur at once, but on occasion only one symptom can occur without the presence of the others.
To be diagnosed with CD, the patient must have shown at least three of the following criteria in the last 12 months, and at least one symptom in the last six months:
- Aggression towards people or animals (bullying, initiating fights, use of weapons, cruelty to animals)
- Destruction of property (including fire-starting)
- Theft or deception (breaking into cars or houses, manipulating people, shoplifting)
- Violation of rules (sneaking out, running away from home)
Children can be diagnosed with conduct disorder as early as age 10, but the majority of patients with CD are 13 or older. CD can occur in three forms: mild, moderate, and severe.