Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Even the best-behaved children can be difficult and challenging at times. But if your child or teenager has a frequent and persistent pattern of anger, irritability, arguing, defiance or vindictiveness toward you and other authority figures, he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

As a parent, you don’t have to go it alone in trying to manage a child with ODD. Doctors, mental health professionals and child development experts can help.

Behavioral treatment of ODD involves learning skills to help build positive family interactions and to manage problematic behaviors. Additional therapy, and possibly medications, may be needed to treat related mental health disorders.

Symptoms

Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize the difference between a strong-willed or emotional child and one with oppositional defiant disorder. It’s normal to exhibit oppositional behavior at certain stages of a child’s development.

Signs of ODD generally begin during preschool years. Sometimes ODD may develop later, but almost always before the early teen years. These behaviors cause significant impairment with family, social activities, school and work.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, lists criteria for diagnosing ODD. The DSM-5 criteria include emotional and behavioral symptoms that last at least six months.

Angry and irritable mood:

  • Often and easily loses temper
  • Is frequently touchy and easily annoyed by others
  • Is often angry and resentful

Argumentative and defiant behavior:

  • Often argues with adults or people in authority
  • Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
  • Often deliberately annoys or upsets people
  • Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior

Vindictiveness:

  • Is often spiteful or vindictive
  • Has shown spiteful or vindictive behavior at least twice in the past six months

ODD can vary in severity:

  • Mild.┬áSymptoms occur only in one setting, such as only at home, school, work or with peers.
  • Moderate.┬áSome symptoms occur in at least two settings.
  • Severe. Some symptoms occur in three or more settings.

For some children, symptoms may first be seen only at home, but with time extend to other settings, such as school and with friends.

If your child shows signs that may indicate ODD or other disruptive behavior, or you’re concerned about your ability to parent a challenging child, please give us a call or send an email inquiry!