Early treatment and identification of children with early-onset CD is vital. Intelligence is another significant factor; a child with a high IQ is easier to work with in treatment. Many children with CD have learning disabilities and lower than average verbal skills.

Various forms of treatment, including medication and family approaches, have been utilized with varying degrees of success. There is no one medication or treatment of choice. A treatment plan might include some or all of the following:

Behavior therapy attempts to set up contingencies that make desirable behavior more likely and attempts to eliminate undesirable behaviors. It provides a high level of structure which is generally needed by children with CD. Behavior therapy helps the child make crucial cause and effect connections that he or she has not been able to do previously, either through lack of experience or inherent lack of capability. Behavioral plans should be coordinated between school and home for maximum effectiveness.

Treatment is often conducted in the context of the family. Therefore the family may require assistance, ranging from education about basic parenting skills to management strategies for the disturbed child.

Treatment may also include medication in some youngsters, such as those with difficulty paying attention, impulse problems, or those with depression.