Difference Between ADHD and Conduct Disorder (With Table)

Humans have a psychology that can be disrupted due to many issues. Some issues stem from the very onset of childhood. These issues, also known as behavioral or mental disorder makes a child behave unnaturally.

Some examples of behavioral disorders include ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and CD (Conduct disorder). It is common to be confused between the two but both conditions are different in their symptoms and treatment.

ADHD vs Conduct Disorder

The main difference between ADHD and Conduct Disorder is that ADHD is a behavioral disorder where a child is hyperactive or has problems controlling impulsive reactions due to the lack of attention during childhood. On the other hand, Conduct Disorder is when a child tends to be anti-social to the point of being immoral.

ADHD vs Conduct Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is when a child is prone to be way more active than a usual child. The child may talk too much, or find it hard to resist temptation. Children with ADHD find it difficult to focus or keep calm. It leads to them finding it hard to make friends.

Conduct Disorder is when a child has zero or low sense of social conduct. Children with Conduct Disorder are often observed to misbehave from a very young age. With age, the misbehaving can increase to making decisions like stealing or inflicting harm.

Comparison Table Between ADHD and Conduct Disorder

Parameters of comparisonADHDConduct Disorder
Type of disorderADHD is a Neurodevelopmental disorder.Conduct Disorder is an emotional and behavioral disorder.
Age of occurrenceADHD is mostly diagnosed in children below the age of 16. It can however last till adulthood too.Conduct Disorder can be diagnosed in children and adults of any age.
Symptoms in childrenChildren with ADHD are more prone to be hyperactive and will find it difficult to wait for their turn.A child has Conduct disorder if there have been instances of complaints from the school where they were found breaking rules.
Symptoms in adultsAdults with ADHD show signs like having problems multi-tasking, or not being able to pay attention for a longer duration. Conduct disorder in adults can be diagnosed if they are often the ones to initiate a fight, or cause harm.
CausesA person can have ADHD because of several reasons like being born prematurely, having a brain injury.A person can have conduct disorder if they were neglected during their childhood, have faced abuse, etc.
TreatmentADHD can be treated with the help of therapy or medicines. Sometimes both medicines and therapy are used.Conduct disorder can be treated only with cognitive behavioral therapy.

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a mental health condition that is prevalent in children and sometimes in adults. It can be diagnosed if a person is always restless or is very hyperactive. When a person has ADHD, it is difficult for them to remain calm.

People with ADHD have energy levels that keep changing within a short duration of time. It creates problems for them as they tend to have a low attention span, and can find their interest in things fading quickly. People with ADHD are also known to be highly impulsive.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has classified ADHD into various categories. Different signs and symptoms can signify which type of ADHD a person is suffering from. The various types of ADHD include the Predominantly hyperactive-Impulsive type and Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type.

There is no permanent remedy or treatment for treating ADHD. It can only be maintained via continuous long-term therapy. Stopping the therapy can cause the symptoms to resurface again.

What is Conduct Disorder?

Conduct Disorder is a combination of behavioral and emotional disorders that starts mostly during childhood due to trauma from being neglected or abused. The trauma makes the person disregard all types of social norms.

A person suffering from Conduct Disorder often has a conflict about right and wrong. It leads them to behave immorally over time. A child can find it okay to even inflict harm on a person or an animal. This can further increase as the person grows older.

A person with conduct disorder is seemed as aggressive, deceitful, and disrespectful to others in society. The symptoms of conduct disorder case can be mild as well as severe. Conduct disorder can happen due to either genetic or environmental factors.

Conduct disorder can only be treated by understanding the reason behind the behavioral patterns and then taking necessary actions along with therapy.

Main Differences Between ADHD and Conduct Disorder

  1. ADHD is a disorder that can happen because of an injury or other chronic problems. Whereas Conduct Disorder happens either because of factors that are genetic or due to the environment that a person grows in.
  2. ADHD only impacts the person suffering from it. On the other hand, Conduct disorder can impact others more than the person suffering from Conduct Disorder.
  3. The major symptoms of ADHD include hyperactive-impulsiveness, irritability, and lack of focus. While, the major symptoms of Conduct Disorder include difficulty in maintaining relations, and have extreme anti-social behavior.
  4. ADHD is a neurological problem that has a chance to be cured with time. However, Conduct Disorder is comparatively more difficult to treat.
  5. A person suffering from ADHD has lower chances of having conduct disorder too. On the other hand, a person suffering from Conduct Disorder has very high chances of having ADHD as well.
  6. A person suffering from ADHD is not much prone to committing crimes. Whereas a person who has Conduct Disorder is highly prone to committing various degrees of crime.
  7. Medicines can help treat ADHD to a certain degree. On the other hand, it is impossible to treat Chronic Disorders with medicines.


Both ADHD and Conduct Disorder are often perceived as similar mental illnesses since a few symptoms are similar to the cases of ADHD and Conduct Disorder. However, both are very different in the way it impacts the person suffering and also society.

Also, ADHD can even disappear on its own. However, the chances that Conduct Disorder will disappear on its own are almost zero.


  1. https://acamh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1469-7610.00127
  2. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/ajp.156.10.1515