Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Conduct disorder in children symptoms

Conduct disorders consist of repetitive and persistent patterns of behaviour, which are age-inappropriate and violate accepted social norms. Children with conduct disorder often bully, intimidate or threaten others. Physical f ights and cruelty to animals and people are not uncommon. Serious violation of rules, such as truanting, staying away from home and damage to property, often lead to forensic involvement. A category of family-based conduct disorders may be present where there is no significant disturbance or abnormality of social relationships outside the family. In older adolescents lack of punctuality and non-compliance with the requirements of employers leads to periods of unemployment. Research has shown that many children with conduct disorders have oor academic achievement and a third of children have specific reading disorders. Disruptive behaviour in the classroom is common leading to poor interpersonal relationships.

Oppositional defiant disorder

This is a sub-type of conduct disorder in younger children. Usually there is an absence of behaviour that violates the law or seriously interferes with the rights of others.

Juvenile delinquency

This is a socio-legal concept defined as a person who has attained the age of criminal responsibility and has been found guilty of a crime. Most offences are against property rather than persons. Personal violence accounts for less than 10 per cent. Factors associated with juvenile delinquency include large family size, low socio-economic status and income, and a family history of criminality in parents and siblings. There is a strong association with broken homes with high levels of disorder and poor parental supervision. Good care planning demands a full history of functioning at school and at home. Due to the wide spectrum of problems, a number of agencies (social services, health, education) may be involved with the family. Behaviour management approaches, parent training and problem-solving approaches have been advocated as effective. In juvenile delinquency multisystemic therapy involving close multi-agency work with family therapy, assertiveness training and problem-solving training has been shown to be effective in reducing re-offending.

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