The exact cause of disruptive disorders is unknown, but it is believed that they may be caused by a combination of different factors such as:

  • A mood disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Separated from their parents
  • Rejected by their parents
  • Physically, emotionally, or sexually abused or neglected
  • Have suffered neurological damage
  • Lacking adequate parental or other adult supervision


There are different types of disruptive disorders, namely:

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) – This is a type of disruptive disorder which causes persistent symptoms of negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behaviours toward authority figures. Children with the oppositional defiant disorder may argue a lot with adults, lose their temper easily, refuse to follow the rules, blame others for their mistakes, deliberately annoys others, and otherwise behave in angry, resentful, and vindictive ways. ODD is commonly seen in children with ADHD.

Conduct disorder (CD) – This is a more extreme condition than ODD. It causes a repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviour wherein the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate social rules are violated. Conduct disorder involves serious aggression towards people or hurting animals, deliberate destruction of property, stealing, running away from home, skipping school, or trying to break some rules of society without getting caught.


How are disruptive disorders treated?

Children with disruptive disorders normally benefit from special behavioural techniques. These techniques may be implemented at home and at school. Therapeutic approaches may include:

  • For children younger than 9, interventions that help parents successfully manage their child’s behaviour are very effective.
  • Training children to become more aware of their own anger.
  • Adult-implemented positive reinforcement strategies to help improve children’s self-control.


1What are the risk factors for disruptive disorders?
There are several risk factors that may contribute to the development of disruptive disorders. These may include:
  • Childhood trauma
  • Existing psychological conditions such as depression, ADHD, or anxiety disorder.
  • Physical conditions such as low birth weight
  • Genetics
2Can disruptive disorders be cured?
There is no cure for disruptive disorders, but your child may learn how to manage their behaviour.
3What happens if left untreated?
Left untreated, disruptive disorders may result in your child being expelled, suspended, failing school and risk-taking behaviours.

"Do not only go through pain but grow through pain"





A psychiatrist is a qualified doctor that specialises in the medical treatment of mental health conditions, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists can assess both mental and physical aspects of psychological conditions and are able to prescribe appropriate medication.