It is not uncommon for kids with ODD to be diagnosed with CD (Conduct Disorder). ODD is often considered a precursor for CD. CD is the next step for many with oppositional, defiant, aggressive behaviors!
    So what is the difference?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder -  In Oppositional Defiant Disorder, the rules broken are usually those in the family and the school. Oppositional Defiant Disorder may occur in children of any age and in adolescents. Sometimes Oppositional Defiant Disorder leads to Conduct Disorder. Between one and six percent of children and adolescents have Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

Examples of Oppositional Defiant Disorder behaviors are:

    • Frequent defiance of the authority of parents, teachers and others
    • Arguing and refusing to obey rules at home and school
    • Failure to take responsibility for bad behavior or mistakes
    • Resentment and looking for revenge
    • Regular temper tantrums

Conduct Disorder Behaviors - In Conduct Disorder, the rules broken include the regulations and laws made by society. Conduct Disorder usually occurs in older children and adolescents. Between one and four percent of young persons seven to seventeen have Conduct Disorder.

Examples of Conduct Disorder behaviors are:

    • Aggressive behaviors that threaten or harm people or animals
    • Behaviors that destroy property such as fire setting, breaking windows or graffiti
    • Stealing, bullying or lying to get something
    • Serious violations of rules, including school truancy and running away from home
Source - MHA of Westchester County, New York

So what is the definition on CD?

Conduct Disorder

Conduct disorder is a more extreme condition than ODD. Defined in the DSM-IV as “a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age appropriate social rules are violated,” CD may involve serious aggression toward people or the hurting of animals, deliberate destruction of property (vandalism), stealing, running away from home, skipping school, or otherwise trying to break some of the major rules of society without getting caught. Many children with CD were or could have been diagnosed with ODD at an earlier age—particularly those who were physically aggressive when they were younger. As the CD symptoms become evident, these children usually retain their ODD symptoms (argumentativeness, resistance, etc) as well. This cluster of behaviors, combined with the impulsiveness and hyperactivity of ADHD, sometimes causes these children to be viewed as delinquents, and they are likely to be suspended from school and have more police contact than children with ADHD alone or ADHD with ODD.

Source -

What are the signs and symptoms of Conduct Disorder?

Behaviors characteristic of conduct disorder include:
  • Aggressive behavior that causes or threatens harm to other people or animals, such as bullying or intimidating others, often initiating physical fights, or being physically cruel to animals.
  • Non-aggressive conduct that causes property loss or damage, such as fire-setting or the deliberate destruction of others’ property.
  • Deceitfulness or theft, such as breaking into someone’s house or car, or lying or “conning” others.
  • Serious rule violations, such as staying out at night when prohibited, running away from home overnight, or often being truant from school.
Many youth with conduct disorder may have trouble feeling and expressing empathy or remorse and reading social cues. These youth often misinterpret the actions of others as being hostile or aggressive and respond by escalating the situation into conflict. Conduct disorder may also be associated with other difficulties such as substance use, risk-taking behavior, school problems, and physical injury from accidents or fights.
Source - MHA:Mental Health America

What causes it?

No one knows for certain. The usual pattern is for problems to begin between ages 1-3. If you think about it, a lot of these behaviors are normal at age 2, but in this disorder they never go away. It does run in families. If a parent is alcoholic and has been in trouble with the law, their children are almost three times as likely to have ODD. That is, 18% of children will have ODD if the parents are alcoholic and the father has been in trouble with the law.

Source - Jim Chandler, MD, FRCPC

Conduct disorder has both genetic and environmental components. That is, although the disorder is more common among the children of adults who themselves exhibited conduct problems when they were young, there are many other factors which researchers believe contribute to the development of the disorder. For example, youth with conduct disorder appear to have deficits in processing social information or social cues, and some may have been rejected by peers as young children.
Source - MHA:Mental Health America