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trastorno de conducta adultos

Conduct disorder in adults is a behavioral and emotional problem that usually first occurs during childhood or adolescence.

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Adults with conduct disorder often display destructive, aggressive and/or deceptive behavior (antisocial behavior) that tends to violate the rights of others.

In this article, we discuss the most common behavioural disorders in adults and when they usually start. We analyse the symptoms and causes of these disorders and how to diagnose them to apply the correct treatment for this mental pathology.

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What are the types of conduct disorder?

Types of conduct disorder are classified according to when their symptoms first began:

  • Childhood onset: before the age of 10 years.
  • Beginning in adolescence.
  • Unknown onset: It is unknown when the first signs of conduct disorder became apparent.

What are conduct disorders in adults?

The most common behavioral disorders in adults include:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder in adults characterised by difficulty in maintaining attention, hyperactivity and excessive impulsivity. ADHD can hurt the quality of life of the sufferer, affect their work performance, and damage their self-esteem and social relationships.
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that affects the way people think and feel about themselves and others. It often causes certain disadvantages and problems in day-to-day life, leading to difficulties in managing emotions, behaviour and relationships, as well as self-image problems.
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): characterised by excessive, uncontrollable and constant worry about different areas of life (work, health, family, financial, etc.). People suffering from GAD tend to worry excessively and disproportionately and find it difficult to control this level of worry, which keeps them in a constant feeling of tension in their daily lives.
  • Depression: can affect adults of all ages. A depressed state is characterised by sad feelings, loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities. Sleep problems, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, and lack of energy are also common.
  • Bipolar disorder: Adults with this behavioural disorder experience very marked mood swings, from moments of euphoria or mania to episodes of depression. Extreme and unpredictable mood swings can greatly affect a person’s ability to function in daily life.

When does a conduct disorder start?

Conduct disorders usually show their first signs during childhood or adolescence and may continue into adulthood or appear for the first time in adulthood.

adult conduct disorder

Symptoms of conduct disorder in adults

The symptoms of conduct disorder in adults can vary greatly depending on the particular conduct disorder being experienced. However, they often include:

  • Difficulties in managing emotions.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Difficulties in maintaining stable personal relationships.
  • Anxiety.
  • Extreme concern.
  • Mood swings.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Aggressive behaviour.
  • Misleading behaviour.
  • Destructive behaviour.
  • Violation of established rules.

What are the causes of conduct disorders in adults?

The causes of conduct disorders in adults can be varied and are usually the result of a combination of several factors. This could include genetic factors, environmental factors – such as stress or various traumas – and biological factors, such as chemical imbalances in the brain.

Other possible causes are childhood experiences.

  • Genetic factors: Damage to the frontal lobe of the brain in a person with conduct disorder may not function properly and lead to, among other things, difficulty in controlling impulses, reduced ability to plan or to learn from past experiences.
  • Environmental factors: the most common are child abuse, growing up in a dysfunctional family, the presence of parents addicted to substances such as drugs or alcohol, or situations of poverty.

How is a conduct disorder diagnosed?

It is best to try to identify conduct disorder during childhood if symptoms of it are observed. In this way, it can be evaluated by a mental health professional and treatment can be provided.

The psychologist or psychiatrist will ask questions to the person suffering from the disorder and to the people closest to them in their environment or nuclear family to identify certain patterns of behaviour. In order to offer a confirmatory diagnosis, the person must present at least three behaviours common to conduct disorders, and at least one of these behaviours must have occurred continuously in the last 6 months.

adult conduct disorder

Conduct disorder in adults: most recommended treatment

The treatment of conduct disorder in adults varies depending on the specific disorder and the severity of the symptoms. 

In general, treatments for conduct disorder may include: cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, group therapy or medication as an adjunct, as the latter are not considered to be particularly effective.

Certain supplements, such as Original Silicium G7 1L Dynamised, can also help treat behavioural disorders in adults. Thanks to its neuroprotective role, silicon can reduce aluminium levels in the brain. Other interesting supplements include the amino acids L-glutamine and L-tryptophan, vitamin B12 and D, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and magnesium.

It is important for people suffering from these disorders to seek professional help for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Conduct disorders: one of the leading mental health problems in adults

adult conduct disorder

As a consequence of continuous mental stress, which is very common nowadays, more and more people suffer from various behavioural disorders such as generalised anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or depression.

It is highly recommended to receive advice from experts who discuss and analyse the affected person’s case in order to help them to solve it, making use of the best therapy in each case. In this way, the person suffering from a behavioural disorder will be able to understand their problems and the path to follow to solve them. The sessions with these professionals will provide mental relief to the patient, and preventive practices are also very important to keep the mind at peace and under control, such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness work, as well as sports practice to help the person reach a calmer and more peaceful state of mind.

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