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“Children with conduct disorder display a persistent and repeated pattern of aggressive, defiant, or anti-social behaviour” (Have, 2004). In order to diagnose a child with conduct disorder, various reports and assessments are required from their surroundings (parents, teachers, and health professionals). In the DSM-5, conduct disorder is characterized by any behaviour that violates societal normal or the rights of others. To be diagnosed at least three symptoms must be present for a period of twelve months with at least one of the symptoms present in the past six months. The symptoms must cause significant impairment in academic, occupational or social functioning.
- Cruel or aggressive behaviour
- Destructive behaviour
- Absence from school prior to the age of thirteen
- Violations of rules
- Heavy alcohol and drug use
Comorbid disorders often include substance abuse, attention-deficit disorder, and depression. Conduct disorder is known to be difficult to treat, and has been previously associated with a high rate of treatment failures. This disorder is also commonly known as “disruptive behaviour disorder” as it has an impact on the diagnosed individual as well as others involved within their surrounding relationships.It is crucial for one to receive treatment early on, once diagnosed.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Oppositional Defiant Disorder is characterized by disobedient and aggressive behaviour by children to authority figures. Youth tend to rebel, refuse to obey given rules, and often argue with those who are older. These behaviour patterns must be consistent in order for one to become diagnosed with this disorder. Common behaviours and attitudes portrayed by children with ODD include: negativity, rebelliousness, aggression, and spitefulness. It is when these behaviours are persistent and get out of hand that a health professional should become involved. It is crucial for one to seek early treatment in order to prevent the risk for severe health concerns.
- Constant hostility, negativity, and defiance
- These attitudes/behaviours last for a period of at least 6 months
- Disruptions occur in both the family and school environment
- Attitudes and behaviours are not consistent with the child's age
- Acting out towards authority figures
Common behaviours associated with ODD include:
- Disobeying rules
- Questioning rules
- Temper tantrums
- Intense arguments with authority figures
- Blaming others for faults of their own
- Outbursts of anger
- Intentionally upsetting others
- Easily annoyed
- Revenge seeking motivations
(The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2009)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
This is a common neurodevelopmental disorder affecting various youth within the community today. As there is no single test to determine whether a child does have this disorder, several steps must be taken in order to diagnose a child with ADHD. This disorder although detected in childhood often continues into the ages of adulthood.
(American Psychiatric Association, 2015)
DSM-5 Criteria for ADHD
People with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development:
Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:
Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
Is often easily distracted
Is often forgetful in daily activities.
Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16, or five or more for adolescents 17 and older and adults; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:
Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
Is often "on the go" acting as if "driven by a motor".
Often talks excessively.
Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
Often has trouble waiting his/her turn.
Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
In addition, the following conditions must be met:
Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before age 12 years.
Several symptoms are present in two or more setting, (e.g., at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning.
The symptoms do not happen only during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder. The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).
Based on the types of symptoms, three kinds (presentations) of ADHD can occur:
Combined Presentation: if enough symptoms of both criteria inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity were present for the past 6 months
Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: if enough symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, were present for the past six months
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: if enough symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity but not inattention were present for the past six months.
Symptoms can change over time, thus the presentation may change over time as well