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Is It Possible that I Have Conduct Disorder as an Adult?

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I was wondering if it’s possible that at 23 years old I have conduct disorder. I’ve looked it up and I feel like I have a lot of the traits of someone with conduct disorder but everything I read says it’s for kids and teens. But I’m wondering if it’s possible for an adult to have it. So is conduct disorder something only kids and teens have or can adults be diagnosed with this as well?

The short answer is no. Conduct disorder is not diagnosed in adults. Individuals who display conduct disorder-like behavior as adults, may receive the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Individuals who have ASPD often show symptoms in childhood, but one cannot officially receive the diagnosis until adulthood.

Individuals with ASPD have a disregard for other people and the law. They can act impulsively, lack empathy and have troubled interpersonal relationships. It is estimated that at least a quarter of incarcerated individuals have ASPD. Treatment may involve talk therapy, but many individuals with this disorder are resistant to treatment and may not be willing to participate. Thus, treatments are often ineffective.

You did not mention why you thought you had this disorder. If you have concerning symptoms, you should have an in-person evaluation by a mental health professional. They can determine if a diagnosis is warranted and recommend and provide treatment. Mental health professionals undergo years of rigorous training in order to understand the complexities of diagnoses. Thus, I would advise against self-diagnosis. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to write again. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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