Conduct Disorder: Treatment

Conduct disorder is difficult to overcome, but it is not hopeless. In situations where an effective support network of parental figures, teachers, and peers can be assembled, the disorder is manageable.

Psychotherapy: Treatment for conduct disorder is complicated by the negative attitudes the disorder instills. As such, psychotherapy and behavioral therapy are often undertaken for long periods of time, and the entire family and support network of the child is brought into the loop. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more successful the therapy will be. While a child learns a better way to interact with the world at large, the family learns the best ways to communicate with him.

In younger children, treatment for CD can resemble treatment for ODD—parent management training may be undertaken by a therapist to teach parents how to encourage desired behaviors. In adolescents, therapy may target not just the home life but interactions with authority figures at school, and ensuring that peer relations are beneficial, not harmful.

Since conduct disorder is often (but not always) diagnosed along with a number of other conditions that can be treated pharmacologically, medication may figure into treatment plans for the disorder.