There are many reasons why a teenager runs away from home such as family drama or feeling the need for attention. They could also have a complete disregard for curfew, which can eventually lead to more serious avoidance of school and home. However, the underlying state of mind of the adolescent could reveal a lot more about what he or she is dealing with. If a young person has a condition called conduct disorder, this could be playing a strong role in determining why certain behaviors occur.
Signs of conduct disorder
A teen who has conduct disorder will often display cruelty to people and animals. The boy could behave as a bully, especially when instigated by a peer. Sometimes, he can have possession of a weapon, such as a baseball bat, knife or gun. A number of different crimes could constitute the disorder as well, such as mugging, burglary, robbery and coerced sexual activity.
Some adolescents can resort to other forms of severe behavioral problems, such as arson or other forms of property damage. They can also demonstrate deceitful behavior in order to manipulate others.
If parents spot any of these symptoms, then professional intervention may be necessary. For instance, conduct disorder should not be confused with similar conditions, such as oppositional defiant disorder. Conduct disorder is more common in boys than girls. Adults can also be diagnosed with conduct disorder, though this will often be the case if they do not show signs of antisocial personality disorder.
When running away occurs
It is common for teens who run away from home to return within a week, that is if they have a stable home to return to. Otherwise, a young person may resort to panhandling to survive. Those who run away from home are also at a greater risk of numerous dangers, such as sex trafficking, physical abuse and abduction.
When a child runs away and goes missing for a long period of time, parents should respond by first calling the police. Contacting the Department of Human Services is advised as well. In reality, parents can only do so much good in searching the community for their children on their own, unless there are specific leads that will provide clues to their whereabouts. Getting the community involved will expedite the search process and hopefully the teen will be located before any crimes are committed on or by the teen.
Treatment for conduct disorder
If an adolescent is diagnosed with conduct disorder, his parents should get him into therapy right away to ensure maximum effectiveness. In more serious cases, the young individual may be required to be separated from the corrupt environment that is causing a negative influence. This could be due to family issues in the home or among peers who are encouraging maladaptive behavior. If a teen is also struggling with substance abuse, appropriate treatment will be necessary in this case as well.
Teens who are unwilling to change should not be allowed to return home if they are abusing drugs on the streets. Parents will need to enroll them in a rehab facility to help them get clean and ensure a full recovery. Enrolling them in a dual diagnosis facility will also help to address the conduct disorder through advanced therapeutic modalities.
If an adolescent faces legal consequences as a result of running away, then this could prove to be an opportunity for them to have a learning experience with great impact. Teens need to learn that they will be held accountable for their actions as adults. Hopefully, there is potential for them to realize this sooner than later, when the consequences are less severe. With parental involvement and appropriate treatment, the symptoms of conduct disorder can only be diminished. White River Academy offers teens with conduct disorder better odds of becoming healthy and happy adults. Please contact our admissions team today at 866-520-0905 for more information.