What Are Disruptive, Impulse-Control and Conduct Disorders?
This group of disorders can cause individuals to behave aggressively with explosive anger directed to other people or property. Controlling emotions and following rules or laws are common problems for people with these diagnoses. Approximately 6% of children have one of these disorders. These diagnoses are more common in males than females and often begin in childhood or adolescence. While the exact cause is not well understood, individuals with these disorders have often experienced harsh parenting, physical or sexual abuse, or parents who had addiction issues or problems with law enforcement. The explosive behaviors tend to occur frequently, across different situations and settings, and can cause significant impairment in the individual’s daily functioning, schooling or work, and in their relationships.
Subtypes of Disruptive, Impulse-Control and Conduct Disorders
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder
- isolating yourself from friends or family
- starting fires
- participating in risky sexual behaviors
- compulsive lying
Diagnosis and Treatment
These disorders are diagnosed by a combination of structured interviews and a review of behavior rating scales that have been filled out by multiple informants. Mental health professionals carefully review the family’s history and the kinds of child-rearing approaches used by the caregivers. The child’s development is also carefully reviewed with particular attention given to aggressive behaviors that were not age appropriate. Treatment typically involves therapy, which can be for the individual, group or family. Often, parents receive their own training for dealing with the explosive outbursts from their children. Medication is not usually employed to treat the disorders themselves but may help manage common co-existing conditions such as depression or ADHD.
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