Conduct disorder is a serious behavioral and emotional disorder that can occur in children and teens. A child with this disorder may display a pattern of disruptive and violent behavior and have problems following rules.
It is not uncommon for children and teens to have behavior-related problems at some time during their development. However, the behavior is considered to be a conduct disorder when it is long-lasting and when it violates the rights of others, goes against accepted norms of behavior and disrupts the child's or family's everyday life.
Many people pick at their skin once in a while, but sometimes it crosses the line into a condition called skin picking disorder (excoriation).
When this happens, picking at the skin -- for example, picking a scab or the skin around your nails -- can become so frequent and intense that it causes bleeding, sores, and scars.
Some people with this disorder repeatedly scratch to try to remove what they see as some kind of imperfection in their skin.
Symptoms of conduct disorder vary depending on the age of the child and whether the disorder is mild, moderate, or severe. In general, symptoms of conduct disorder fall into four general categories:
Aggressive behavior: These are behaviors that threaten or cause physical harm and may include fighting, bullying, being cruel to others or animals, using weapons, and forcing another into sexual activity.
Destructive behavior: This involves intentional destruction of property such as arson (deliberate fire-setting) and vandalism (harming another person's property).
Deceitful behavior: This may include repeated lying, shoplifting, or breaking into homes or cars in order to steal.
Violation of rules: This involves going against accepted rules of society or engaging in behavior that is not appropriate for the person's age. These behaviors may include running away, skipping school, playing pranks, or being sexually active at a very young age.
In addition, many children with conduct disorder are irritable, have low self-esteem, and tend to throw frequent temper tantrums. Some may abuse drugs and alcohol. Children with conduct disorder often are unable to appreciate how their behavior can hurt others and generally have little guilt or remorse about hurting others.