Conduct disorder is a common and severely debilitating psychiatric disorder. It usually develops in childhood or adolescence. It is characterised by extreme antisocial and aggressive behavior. A new study by a LSU psychology professor has revealed that conduct disorder requires a greater awareness, better diagnosis, and improved treatment.
“There should be a concerted effort for better diagnosis and treatment of children with conduct disorder. We need to invest in training in evidence-based treatments. We also need to ensure that families have access mental health services for their children and adolescents. Paul Frick, LSU Department of Psychology professor, stated that LSU provides diagnostic services to the public for children and teens with serious behavior problems aged 6-17 through its Psychological Services Center.
The study reviewed evidence from worldwide research and found that conduct disorder is a leading cause for referral to child and adolescent mental healthcare services. It is paradoxically, one of the most understudied and poorly funded psychiatric disorders.
Evidence shows that conduct disorder is associated to a very high economic, societal, and individual burden. The health and personal burden of it is seven times greater than that of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, a much more widely known disorder. While it is possible for children with ADHD to also have signs of conduct disorder symptoms, very few will ever be diagnosed or treated for it. Conduct disorder can also be associated with a higher level of health problems than autism.
Conduct disorder is often overlooked and not treated despite its high prevalence in the family, personal, and social spheres. Unfortunately, it becomes more difficult to treat the longer this goes on. This is a perfect example of the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound cure.” Frick also stated that many of the treatments being tried in the community have not been effective.
Researchers came up with the idea of the new treatment for conduct disorder in children, adolescents and young people after failing to address and treat it. Nature ReviewsThis paper calls for greater awareness and funding to better understand and treat the disorder. This paper, which provides a comprehensive overview on conduct disorder, its diagnosis and clinical management, and its long-term consequences, highlights the serious consequences and adult outcomes that can result from not being properly diagnosed and treated.
It reveals the severe mental and physical health burden on patients and their loved ones. Conduct disorder is associated in children with a higher chance of developing anxiety, depression, and alcoholism. Conduct disorder is associated with a higher risk of developing antisocial or borderline personality disorders in adulthood. The study also shows that young people with conduct disorders are more likely than others to have children sooner, have more unplanned pregnancies and become dependent on benefits, homeless, or attempt suicide. These behaviors can have a devastating effect on individuals, their families, and society. Conduct disorder can also lead to problems in parenting that can make it more likely that children will develop conduct disorder. This can create an intergenerational cycle.
The researchers recommend that the diagnosis is correct and that the child and adolescent mental healthcare services can help with management. The study highlights how parents can help their children with conduct disorder. It also highlights the importance of providing skills training for children, adolescents and their families to help them manage their emotions and improve their social skills. Frick and his coauthors believe these approaches can have profound impact on the patient’s life and well-being.
Frick hopes that the study will bring attention to the treatment and diagnosis of children with conduct disorder. People often view children with conduct disorder simply as “bad kids” and don’t recognize that they need mental health treatment. He hopes that the paper will bring attention to the societal effects of the condition and encourage more funding for research from both government and private sources.
Materials provided by Louisiana State University. Note: Content may be edited to improve style and length.