Nov 25th 2022
M.S. Counseling Psychology
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder occurring in children or preteens who demonstrate defiant, angry, and argumentative behavior. Causes may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. ODD is often treated with parent training, psychotherapy, and medications.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder that starts in childhood but may continue into adolescence and adulthood. It is characterized by unruly, hostile, angry and argumentative behavior towards the parent(s) and other authoritative figures. Children with ODD often seem easily irritated and may do things to intentionally annoy others. They refuse to obey rules or listen to what adults ask, and often have an angry attitude. They may be vengeful and speak unkindly to others.
Even though temper tantrums may be expected at a young age, these behaviors go beyond what is typical and carry on past an age when such behaviors usually taper off in most children. Thus, because the behaviors often continue after the age of 4, they become a cause for concern, as the tantrums start to disrupt early life (including activities within the family) and school.
Sometimes the signs of ODD only show up in a particular scenario or with one specific individual. For example, children with ODD might only show symptoms at home or around people with whom they are most familiar.
Children with ODD have strained relationships with parents, peers, and teachers. As a result, they are more likely to have higher rates of coexisting mood disorders and are at a greater risk of developing antisocial personality disorders later in life. 
Oppositional defiant disorder signs begin during preschool years. As a result, it may be challenging to distinguish between a strong-willed or troublesome child and one with ODD. At times, ODD may develop a little later, but it is generally apparent before the early teen years.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) sets forth the criteria for diagnosing ODD, listing emotional and behavioral symptoms exhibited for at least six months. Further, children and teens must show at least four of the symptoms for at least six months to meet the diagnostic criteria for ODD.
ODD can be classified in three ways according to the number of settings the symptoms in which they appear.
With children with ODD, challenging behaviors go beyond the norm considered for their developmental age. An extreme form of ODD, called conduct disorder, can be a coexisting condition. Other conditions that can exist with ODD are most commonly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and depression. 
It’s normal for kids to be challenging or defiant sometimes. Still, those with ODD will exhibit such behaviors most of the time. Children who are diagnosed early often have better outcomes. When in doubt, watch for these particular behaviors.
Tantrums associated with the ‘terrible twos’ often occur between 18-30 months and generally become less frequent after the child turns three. 
ODD can be diagnosed as early as between the ages of four and eight because the condition starts to interfere with family life and school. You will notice that your child argues unnecessarily and has frequent bouts of anger, are easily annoyed and will not accept even basic requests of discipline, are vengeful and spiteful; and have difficulty forming friendships. These symptoms seem to be continuous over six months.
While the causes of ODD are unknown, experts have two main theories for its development:
ODD treatment depends on the severity of symptoms, the child’s age, and their ability to participate or tolerate treatment. A combination of treatments is often suitable:
Treatment and therapy early on can prevent future problems. In order to help the ODD child have a better quality of life:
Creating an environment conducive to learning for students with different learning abilities and other issues is challenging at the best of times. When a classroom has a student with ODD, this may influence everybody. Teachers need strategies to minimize this disruption consistently.
Classroom strategies include:
When it comes to ODD, treatment is usually effective, especially if help is sought when first noticing the symptoms. A mental health professional can guide you so the condition can be kept in check. ODD patients may have problems making friends and may experience rejection from peers or siblings. Thus, it is essential to tackle ODD before the child can develop more severe behavioral disorders or encounter more challenging situations.
ODD is estimated in about 2-11% of the population worldwide. Such a variation is shown because this diagnosis often depends on informant sources (e.g., parents and teachers) for reporting symptoms.
ODD occurs more often in preadolescent males than in females. In adolescence and adulthood, the difference between genders is less marked.
Although both conditions can coexist, there are differences between a child with ODD and one with ADHD. While an initial behavior may look the same (e.g., a child causing trouble or trying to annoy another child in class), the subsequent reaction will differ.
An ODD child will be aggressive and not feel remorseful about it. The ODD means they might even place the blame on someone else or brag about it. On the other hand, the actions of an ADHD child will be impulsive and hyperactive, but they will later feel sorry about it.
In class, an ODD child can stay still but would rather not; they may choose to be disruptive. An ADHD child will have trouble keeping still due to a lack of focus and may be unable to sit quietly, even if they wish to do so. 
Boys are more at risk of developing ODD than girls. ODD is also more common in those with other mood or anxiety disorders, such as antisocial/conduct disorder or attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Because the cause of ODD is unknown, it is impossible to prevent this behavioral disorder. However, early diagnosis and treatment are the most helpful ways of not letting the condition get out of hand or progress.
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