Conduct Disorder

Conduct Disorder

By: Leah Flanzman

Conduct disorder is a behavioral disorder seen in children who display behaviors that deviate from societal norms and violate a number of social rules. Conduct disorder will typically present itself before the age of 16, and can have both genetic and environmental influences. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV-TR), this disorder is being increasingly diagnosed in more and more children throughout the United States. In the past few years, prevalence rates of children exhibiting symptoms of conduct disorder skyrocketed to as high as 10%.

Conduct disorder is typically divided into two types, childhood onset and adolescent onset, which are distinguished from one another by the age at which symptoms begin appearing. Childhood onset conduct disorder is diagnosed before 10 years of age, and adolescent onset is diagnosed if the symptoms arise after 10 years of age. Childhood onset is believed to be the more serious condition between the two and more resistant to treatment

The symptoms of conduct disorder can be broken down into four main categories. A child or adolescent is likely to have conduct disorder if they consistently display aggressive conduct, deceitful behavior, destructive behavior, or a violation of rules. Examples of aggressive conduct can include intimidating or bullying other children, physically harming people or animals with malicious intentions, or using a weapon. Deceitful behavior can be seen through lying, stealing, or breaking and entering.   Individuals will display destructive behaviors by intentionally destroying or vandalizing properties, and individuals will violate rules by skipping school, running away, or prematurely abusing drugs and alcohol.

A distinction lies in how the symptoms of conduct disorder are manifested between the genders, as it is more frequently diagnosed in boys. Boys are more likely to fight, steal, vandalize school property, and break school rules, whereas girls are more likely to lie, run away from home, use drugs, and engage in early sexual activity. Conduct disorder is unique in the fact that it is not always recognized as a mental illness, so treatment is commonly neglected. Early intervention for Conduct Disorder yields the greatest possibility for an improved long-term outcome so if symptoms begin to arise, seeking help immediately can be extremely beneficial.

If you or a person you know is struggling with conduct disorder, it may be beneficial to have them contact a mental health professional and receive therapy for their illnesses. The psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help.  Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit for more information.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

What is Separation Anxiety Disorder?

BY: Cassie Sieradzky

Separation anxiety is characterized by excessive fear or anxiety about separating from home or an attachment figure. Children under the age of 2 often experience separation anxiety, however a key feature of the disorder is that it persists past the developmentally appropriate period. Children with separation anxiety disorder may cling to their parents excessively, refuse to go to sleep without their parents, abstain from going to a friend’s house, and may even require someone to be with them when they walk around their house. Children with separation anxiety disorder also commonly complain of physical symptoms during separation, such as headaches, nausea and vomiting. When separation does occur, the child may seem withdrawn, sad, and have difficulty concentrating. Some other symptoms of the disorder are worry about losing or harm coming to their attachment figures, worry about experiencing an unexpected negative event such as becoming ill, and nightmares involving themes of separation. For a diagnosis to be considered, these symptoms must be present for at least four weeks and must cause impairment in school or socially.

Separation anxiety disorder is the most prevalent anxiety disorder in children under the age of 12. In a given 12-month period in the U.S., the prevalence of separation anxiety disorder is estimated to be 4% of children and is equally common for males and females. The cause of separation anxiety disorder is unknown, however separation anxiety disorder commonly develops after a person experiences a major stressor, such as a loss. To resolve the feelings of separation anxiety, a child must develop a strong sense of safety in their environment, as well as trust in people other than their parents, and trust in the care giver’s return.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from separation anxiety disorder, licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit

Separation Anxiety. (2017, April 18). Retrieved February 27, 2018, from