Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder characterized by anger, irritability, frequent arguing, defiance, and vindictiveness towards authoritative figures. It is estimated that 10.2% of all children will develop ODD, as this is one of the most common child behavioral disorders. A variety of causes are involved with ODD, including predisposing factors from genetics, psychological factors such as insecure attachment to parents, and social factors such as poverty or violence in the local community. Most often occurring in males, ODD can range from mild, moderate, to severe. The difference between these ranges of severity depends on whether the symptoms of ODD occur in one, two, or three or more settings (such as home, school, work, with peers, etc.).

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry confirmed three sub-types of ODD:

  • Stimulus Dependent ODD – the child has noticeably impaired ADHD and experiences symptoms of ODD in multiple settings; symptoms of opposition typically decrease when ADHD is treated.
  • Cognitive Overload ODD – the child experiences difficulties in learning, language, and social processing far past ADHD; often considered socially awkward, children in this category have poor executive functioning skills.
  • Fearful ODD – often found in highly aroused and stress reactive children, this type of ODD is accompanied by a mistrust in authority. Many children with this form have a history of trauma and express ODD symptoms when loss or shame is present, especially when a caregiver is involved.

Symptoms of ODD include easily losing one’s temper, refusing to follow the rules, deliberately annoying others, blaming other people for one’s own mistakes, being stubborn and unwilling to compromise, deliberately testing one’s limits, and being hostile towards others through verbal attacks.

Much of the symptoms of ODD can be reversed with a strict, consistent routine and treatment. It most often depends on the severity the disorder and how stable the child’s home environment is or can become. Treatment for ODD often includes individual and family-based therapies as well as medication. Individual therapy can help the person develop social skills, anger management skills, coping skills, problem solving skills, and academic skills. Parent therapy is a critical component to treatment so that parents can learn how to clearly monitor, establish rules, spend quality time with, work together, and communicate with one another to help their child recover.

Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.



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