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Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a psychiatric disorder. The term oppositional is defined as hostile or confrontational action or behaviour, therefore children with ODD are:

  • defiant,
  • disobedient and
  • can lose their temper easily.
  • They dislike responding to instructions or taking orders, and they can actively refuse even simple requests.
  • They may also deliberately annoy, blame or become spiteful to others.

Although all children and teens may go through a defiant period, those with ODD act consistently in this manner, making them very challenging to deal with.

ODD behaviours tend to be directed towards authority figures, such as teachers or parents. ODD is similar to Conduct Disorder which is characterized by repetitive aggressive and destructive actions. Both disorders occur mostly in boys, but ODD is more common than CD, appears at an earlier age and tends to be less severe.

Difficult to diagnose early on, a child must demonstrate at least four of the typical ODD behaviours for an extended period of time (around 6 months). A child with ODD will then require specialist psychiatric help. Treatment may include stimulant medication as with ADHD, but should also include ABA, using tried and tested techniques such as setting goals and reinforcing positive behaviours.

Figures show that between 35 to 50% of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) also have ODD. This may be because children with ADHD are difficult to parent, and, as they challenge others with their behaviour, they can be rejected and/or receive negative feedback leading to deeper psychological problems and defiance.

Contact us if your child has ODD and you need help.