Difference Between ADHD and Conduct Disorder

The acronym ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This disorder is prevalent in children and adults.


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This primarily affects the activity of the brain. Several symptoms are visible in the child having this particular disorder.

There are various treatments, methods and practices to help the children and adults with this disorder.

Conduct Disorder is developed when the individual is a child and it can develop into adulthood.

It is a behavioral type of disorder that particularly affects the child’s behavioral response and they do not prefer to follow the protocols set by anyone, causing physical harm and being cruel to animals and humans.

They are most likely to have difficulty in relationships with anyone in the future.

Key Takeaways

  1. ADHD is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, while conduct disorder involves aggressive, rule-breaking, and antisocial behavior.
  2. ADHD symptoms often appear before age 12, while conduct disorder typically develops during late childhood or early adolescence.
  3. Treatment for ADHD includes medication and behavioral therapy, while conduct disorder treatment involves therapy, parent training, and social skills development.

ADHD vs Conduct Disorder

The difference between ADHD and Conduct Disorder is that ADHD affects brain activity and Conduct Disorder affects the behavioural activity of an individual. In some medical cases, children with ADHD are also viable to develop a Conduct Disorder. The ADHD disorder is chronic but the conduct disorder has a genetic influence.

ADHD vs Conduct Disorder

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is also called Attention Deficit Disorder.

It is a chronic condition that is prone to affect the attention span of the individual. It can contribute to an individual’s low self-esteem, relationships with peers, inability to focus on a single task, process information slowly, have trouble following instructions, have difficulty in sitting still

and so much more. It is a very common disorder that can be treated and not completely cured.

Conduct Disorder is an important disorder that is behavioural and emotional which can affect children, teens and adults. They have a pattern of behaviour which they display is usually disruptive and violent.

They can cause physical harm, breaching of rules, have temper tantrums and be sexually active at a very young age.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonADHDConduct Disorder
Type of DisorderIt is a chronic disorderIt is a genetically influenced disorder
SymptomsIt  causes aggression, irritability, inability to pay attention, repetition of words, difficulty in focusingThese individuals are prone to violating rules, bullying, physical assault, run away from home, do drugs, alcohol 
In ChildrenThe symptoms of inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behaviour start before the age of 12.As a child, they can be seen causing temper tantrums, arguing, deliberately annoying and actively not following rules 
In AdultsThe symptoms can be from mild to severe; some may think that just doing everyday tasks is difficult and nothing with ADHD. Stress, poor sleep are other symptoms Difficulty with handling a job and not maintaining relationships are difficult. In adults, it is hard as Antisocial Personality Disorder as well

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders in children and adults. It is a chronic disorder with prominent symptoms. It begins when the individual is a child and then goes to adulthood.

This disorder can be treated and not cured. Treatment of medication and talk therapy will be given to these individuals.

There are three types of ADHD: The first is the inattentive type, the hyperactive-impulsive type and the combination type.

Their behaviour can be categorized in three ways: not paying attention: being distracted, poor concentration skills and organisation skills. Secondly, impulsivity and thirdly comes hyperactivity with constant fidgeting.

Research shows that an estimate of 4â„… to 12% of worldwide children are affected by ADHD and 4% to 5% of adults and college students have this disorder.

When it comes to children boys are more affected than girls and in adults an equal number of men and women are affected.

The treatments of ADHD is behavioral therapy, training the parents, speech therapy and medications


What is Conduct Disorder?

This is a type of behavioural disorder. It is an important health and social problem.

Conduct Disorder is a very common psychiatric disorder with around the globe of 5% individuals and it is still rising.

These children are given a diagnosis. 

These individuals show severe antisocial behaviour which comprises tantrums, physical and verbal aggression, stealing, lying, violation of rules and other peoples rights.

These are caused and also triggered by ineffective parenting, poor disciplinary practices in the home. They are also caused by genetic influence.

The symptoms can be divided into four categories as aggressive behaviour, destructive behaviour, deceitful behaviour and severe violation of rules. The causes for this disorder include biological,  genetic, environmental, psychological and social causes.

There are specifically trained health professionals and psychiatrists to treat these mental illnesses. Psychotherapy supports the individual to control and express their anger in more appropriate ways.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is performed on these individuals to help their skills, anger management, impulse control and their moral reasoning skills. 

conduct disorder

Main Differences Between ADHD and Conduct Disorder

  1.  ADHD and Conduct disorder differ in their origins. ADHD is a chronic disorder whereas Conduct Disorder is caused by genetic influence, the environment that the child grows in, psychological abuse and parental rejection. 
  2. ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder and Conduct Disorder is a psychiatric disorder.
  3. Conduct Disorder happens when the child shows symptoms such as not abiding by the protocols, tantrums, running away from home, getting influenced by substances such as drugs and alcohol, bullying but ADHD affected children show symptoms such as hyperactivity, constant fidgeting and inattention. ADHD diagnosed children can develop Conduct Disorder. One out of four children can get it.
  4. Individuals with ADHD have difficulty in organizing thoughts and grasping new information whereas Conductive Disorder individuals have behavioral changes which are aggressive, harmful and violating.
Difference Between ADHD and Conduct Disorder
  1. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244x-11-57
  2. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.156.10.1515
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