OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER (ODD)
What is oppositional defiant disorder?
Oppositional defiant disorder is a behavioral disorder that affects children and adolescents. Children and adolescents who have ODD tend to distress others more than they feel distressed themselves. These individuals are often times uncooperative, defiant, irritable, negativistic and oppositional with authority figures (i.e. parents, teachers, etc.).
What are the causes of oppositional defiant disorder?
Although the actual causes of ODD are unknown
the most common theories include the developmental and learning
theories. Developmental theory suggests that the symptoms of ODD are
related to unresolved (normal) developmental issues that occur during
the toddler years. Learning theory suggests that the symptoms of ODD are
learned behaviors and a product of the child’s environment (i.e. this
behavior may be learned from parents or other significant role models in
the child’s life).
What are the main symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder?
(From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV))
- Often loses temper Often argues with adults
- Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
- Often deliberately annoys people
- Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
- Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others Is often angry and resentful Is often spiteful and vindictive
A competent medical doctor or mental health professional must diagnose ODD. It is important to note that transient ODD is common in preschool children and adolescents. Therefore a diagnosis of ODD in these age groups should be made with caution. ODD is more common in males that females before puberty, yet after puberty the rates become almost equal. According to the DSM IV ODD affects between 2% and 16% of all children.
What kind of treatment is most appropriate?
A medical doctor or competent mental health professional must determine specific treatment for your child or adolescent. It is always important to obtain a thorough physical examination by your doctor to rule out any physical causes. Considerations that should be made include your child’s age and developmental history, family history, the extent of the symptoms, tolerance for certain medications and therapies and your particular preferences.
Treatment choices include:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Family psychotherapy
- Group psychotherapy