Conduct disorder is a highly disruptive and often misunderstood condition that is characterized by persistent and repetitive anti-social behaviors such as aggressive conduct, deceitfulness, theft, serious rule violations, and causing property loss or damage. The behaviors that are symptomatic of conduct disorder can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. The inability to control these behaviors can significantly hamper a person’s ability to complete his or her education, secure and maintain employment, and avoid legal problems and incarceration. Repeated and persistent anti-social behaviors also increase the likelihood that an individual will struggle to form and maintain healthy and productive relationships.
At Southcoast Behavioral Health, we have extensive experience helping people whose lives have been upended by conditions such as conduct disorder. We understand the unique ways that conduct disorder impacts individuals, and we recognize the challenges that can prevent a person from living a healthier and more satisfying life. Most importantly, we have used this knowledge to develop effective programming that can empower individuals to overcome conduct disorder and once again become productive contributing members of their families, schools, workplaces, and communities.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Caring about a person who has conduct disorder can be a painful, confusing, and frustrating experience that can feel overwhelming. The nature of this disorder pushes people away from the afflicted individual, which can make it exceedingly difficult for a person to get the help that he or she needs. If someone you love is struggling with conduct disorder, the information in this section may help you to take the steps that can have a transformational positive impact on your loved one’s life.
First, you must educate yourself about this disorder. Access information from reputable websites, consult with mental health experts in your area, and take whatever additional steps are necessary for you to gain a general understanding of what your loved one is experiencing. Your research should also involve identifying the types of treatment that have been effective with others whose situations are similar to what your loved one is dealing with, and locating programs that provide this type of care.
One of the most difficult aspects of caring about someone who has conduct disorder is approaching this problem in a nonjudgmental manner. If you are close to a person with conduct disorder, it is likely that you have been negatively impacted by the behaviors that are symptomatic of this condition. Your goal cannot be to punish your loved one for past transgressions; you must remained focus on getting him or her the help that is so desperately needed.
It may also be necessary for you to consult with an expert to determine the best way to express your concerns to your loved one and share the treatment information you have amassed. An individual who has conduct disorder may be highly resistant to the suggestion that he or she has a problem that merits comprehensive residential care. This conversation is not something that should be entered into without proper preparation. You must ensure that you have the skill, strategy, and support to discuss this in a safe and productive manner.
Finally, you need to be prepared for a long process. Getting your loved one to accept that he or she needs treatment may take multiple discussions, and the treatment itself will be just one part of an extended effort to help your loved one overcome the symptoms that have so drastically impacted his or her life. During this time, you must also ensure that you are not neglecting your physical, emotional, or spiritual needs. In order to be a source of valuable support for your loved one, you must take care of yourself first.
Why Consider Treatment at Southcoast
Life with untreated conduct disorder can be bleak, chaotic, and self-defeating. The behaviors that are associated with this disorder will expose an afflicted individual to continued conflict with peers and authority figures, which can lead to academic failure and expulsion, job loss and chronic unemployment, and social ostracization. Individuals who have conduct disorder also have an increased likelihood for a host of other negative outcomes, including involvement with the criminal justice system, injury from fights and/or other dangerous behaviors, and substance abuse. Conduct disorder puts at risk for developing mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, impulse-control disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The impact of the conduct disorder, the presence of one or more co-occurring disorders, and the residual damage that is caused by the symptomatic behaviors can be overwhelming and can place a person in danger of living a life that is destroyed by inner turmoil and external conflict.