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Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Is your child constantly having a persistent pattern of anger, irritability or they are arguing towards you? Your child may have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

An individual who suffers from such condition displays an ongoing pattern of an angry and irritable mood. In addition, the child is constantly argumentative towards their authority figure causing disruptions in the child’s school and home environment for example.

What are the symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Although it can be hard to distinguish between a child who has ODD and a child that is strong-willed, symptoms of ODD typically begin during preschool years. However, in order for an individual to be diagnosed with ODD the following emotional and behavioral symptoms must last for at least 6 months:

  • An individual may have an angry or irritable mood
    • The individual loses their temper
    • An individual is easily annoyed by those around them
    • An individual is constantly feeling angry and resentful
  • An individual may have an argumentative and defiant behavior
    • The individual is constantly arguing with those in authority
    • The individual defies to comply with the adults’ requests or rules
    • The individual is constantly annoying and upsetting people
    • The individual is constantly blaming others for their own mistakes and misbehavior
    • An individual has shown vindictive behavior at least twice during the last 6 months

It is important to note that ODD can vary in severity:

  • Mild
    • The symptoms may occur at only one setting (i.e. home, work, or school)
  • Moderate
    • Symptoms occur at 2 settings
  • Severe
    • Symptoms occur at 3 or more settings

What causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Although there is not one known cause, experts believe that genetics and the environment may play a role. However, a child’s temperament (i.e. having trouble controlling their frustration), family issues (i.e. having a parent with mental issues themselves), and parent issues (i.e. abuse or neglect), can also increase the chances of an individual developing such disorder.

In addition, ODD may cause an individual to have poor school and work performance along with antisocial behavior, suicidal thoughts, and an impulse to control their problems for example. Moreover, such disorder can be in comorbidity with ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, and Learning and Communication Disorders.

How is Oppositional Defiant Disorder treated?

  • Parent Training
    • A professional will help the parent develop parenting skills that are more consistent and less frustrating for the child
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
    • A therapist coaches the parent while they interact with the child
  • Individual and Family Therapy
    • Such therapy can help the child manage their anger and express their feelings in a healthy way
    • Family therapy can help improve the communication and relationship among the relatives
  • Cognitive Problem-Solving Training
    • Such therapy focuses on identifying and changing the thought patterns of the child
  • Social Skills Training

What can I do to help my child cope with Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

  • Recognize and praise their accomplishments
  • Model the behavior you want them to express
  • Pick your battles
  • Set limits
    • Give the child clear instructions and stick to them
    • Give them consistent and reasonable consequences
  • Set up a routine
  • Set time to spend together
    • Build a schedule
  • Assign the child some chores
  • Be prepared for the challenges