Conduct Disorder

SpotLyte Behavioral Health -  - Behavioral Health

SpotLyte Behavioral Health

Behavioral Health & Therapy Services located in Downingtown, PA

Angry outbursts, persistent lying, and aggression are often telltale signs of conduct disorder. With a team of mental health professionals on staff, SpotLyte Behavioral Health has the unique training and experience necessary to diagnose and treat conduct disorder at their office in Downingtown. If you’re concerned about your child’s disruptive or aggressive behavior, the team at SpotLyte Behavioral Health can help. Call the location nearest you or schedule an appointment online to learn more.

Conduct Disorder Q & A

What is conduct disorder?

Conduct disorder is a potentially serious mental health disorder that causes several emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents. Individuals with conduct disorder often display physical and emotional aggression, lies and deceit, and a lack of empathy toward others.

Children with conduct disorder are typically misunderstood by their peers as well as the adults in their lives. While they may seem tough or angry on their exterior, children and adolescents with conduct disorder are often insecure and sensitive and inaccurately perceive others as aggressors.

What are the symptoms of conduct disorder?

Children and adolescents typically exhibit one or more of the following behaviors if they have conduct disorder:

  • Starting physical fights
  • Threatening or intimidating peers
  • Cruelty or aggressiveness toward animals
  • Stealing or shoplifting
  • Running away from home
  • Lying to obtain goods
  • Lack of empathy
  • Combative behavior toward authority figures
  • Skipping school
  • Violating rules

Those who suffer from conduct disorder are often disruptive and don’t go unnoticed by authority figures, such as their caregivers, teachers, or babysitters.

What causes conduct disorder?

Certain genetic and environmental factors can raise your chances of developing conduct disorder, including:

  • Damage to the frontal lobe of the brain
  • Being male
  • Poverty
  • Child abuse
  • Family history of conduct disorder
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Neglect

Traumatic life events and having parents who abuse drugs and alcohol can also trigger conduct disorder in children and adolescents.

How is conduct disorder diagnosed?

Diagnosing conduct disorder requires a full evaluation from a mental health professional. The team at SpotLyte Behavioral Health can perform a comprehensive assessment of your child’s actions and behaviors. 

To diagnose conduct disorder, the team must see at least three signs of the condition. They ask your child a series of questions and review their medical and family histories. The team may also ask you questions about your child’s behavior at home, socially, and academically to gauge whether they’re showing distinct signs of conduct disorder.

What are the treatments for conduct disorder?

Conduct disorder typically takes a multimodality approach to treatment. The most common treatments include:


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, gives your child the opportunity to work through their emotions and behaviors with a mental health professional. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that strives to rewire negative thoughts and behaviors to create more positive, helpful patterns.


If your child is showing signs of impulsivity, severe depression, or aggression, certain medications can help regulate their mood and behavior.

Situational changes

Certain triggers, such as physical, sexual, or drug abuse at home, can trigger symptoms of conduct disorder. A change in environment can significantly help improve the negative thoughts and behaviors that a child with this disorder faces.

For more information on conduct disorder, call SpotLyte Behavioral Health or schedule an appointment online today.