Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a behavior-related problem in a child. In this disorder, the child is often in an angry and ill-tempered mood and shows defiant or attacking behavior. They like to be authoritative every time; such behavior can affect their normal life. Problems arise in schools, with family members, and even mixing with peers can also be complicated.

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is specifically more common in boys at a young age. However, in older age, it can be prominent both in boys and girls. After eight, this syndrome can be visible in almost 16% of children and teenagers. Oppositional Defiant Disorder is seen in children and can also be found in early adolescence. They are urged to argue every time and tend to disobey their elders. Sometimes they also talk back and show attacking behavior towards their adult parents and teachers. Now, such type of behavior is common in childhood. Nevertheless, if this action lasts more than six months and even after childhood, the child may be under ODD.

ODD has behavioral problems like learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, anxiety disorder, and mood disorders. In the long term, the last two behavioral problems can develop into depression. So it should be treated as soon as possible after the disorder is detected.

Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The affected children of ODD are found to be very much moody and easily frustrated. They generally have very low self-esteem. In the extreme stage, they can also be addicted to drugs and alcohol. Other symptoms of ODD are like −

  • They argue with adults excessively. Especially when showing their authority, they like to be the dominant one.

  • A violent outburst of anger is often seen in their behavior.

  • A repeated and common syndrome is more swings and temper tantrums.

  • They easily get annoyed at things and try to annoy others, especially those who dislike them. The habit of using nasty and hateful things when they are upset. Blame others for their own mistakes.

  • Often turn down requests and rules and generally do not go with adjustment.

  • They are often fond of seeking revenge b on others and remember disliked things for a long.

Diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

If ODD symptoms are found in anyone, diagnosis and treatment are immediately needed. Initially, this mental disorder can be easily identified by the child's signs and behavior. The doctor will begin treatment based on the seriousness of the disorder, complete medical history, and lab test. It is to be noted that there is no particular lab test available to diagnose ODD, but some tests like neuroimaging studies and blood tests can help recognize the disorder. ODD can come along with ADHD and depression, making the situation more severe.

Sometimes, the patient with odd problems can also be referred to a psychiatrist or mental health professional for better treatment. Interviewing, evaluating, and observing the patient's behavior and attitude are the best way to diagnose the disorder. The child's parents and family are also advised to look closely at their behavior.

Risk Factors of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The cause of ODD is not known, but it can be environmental, biological, or genetic. Some causes and risk factors associated with ODD can be −

  • Temperament − Kids with ODD are found with extremely high temperaments. It is difficult for them to control their anger and emotions, and Misbehaving and misunderstandings are the very common consequences of it.

  • Brain Chemistry − Brain chemicals' imbalance can be a major cause of ODD. If neurotransmitters do not work properly, various behavioral disorders like ODD, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, etc., become prominent.

  • Family Issues − ODD may appear if the child is a victim of indiscipline in family life. The presence of authoritative family members, abuse, and dysfunctional family life is the source of ODD.

  • Other Brain Defects − If the child has any injuries in certain areas of the brain, such disorders may happen. Other than that, any defective nerve function may lead to ODD.

  • Peers − Lack of attention or deprivation from peers may also enforce ODD. In such cases, the child becomes very aggressive and stubborn.

  • Family History − If the child with ODD has any close family member with a mental and behavioral disorder, the symptoms of ODD can be prominent in the child. In this case, ODD is inherited.

Other Complications of Oppositional Defiant Disorder within Children

Apart from the previous ones, various disorders can arise in the social life of the child, like −

  • Anti−social behavior.

  • Problems in mixing with others.

  • Poor Results.

  • Addicted to drugs and alcohol.

  • Suicidal tendencies.

  • Depression.

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Anxiety.

  • Other Behavioral disorders.

  • Communication problems.

  • Learning disabilities, etc.

ODD directly impacts the personal and social life of the child, so it must be treated as soon as possible.

Treatments of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The treatment of ODD and other such behavioral problems depends on psychological therapies. The involvement of the expert, parents, teachers and other elders will help to cure the disorder. Usually, the treatment of ODD is a combination of −

  • Family Therapy − Behavior management plans, parent management training, and other specialized therapy techniques are included in family therapy. Positive family communication and interactions are emphasized to keep the temperament of an ODD child under control.

  • Psychotherapy − Psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy emphasizes counseling. It aims to aim the child in coping, reshape his thinking, and express and control anger in an appreciated way. It is more like behavioral training.

  • Medication − There is no particular medicine for ODD. Nevertheless, some medications are prescribed to keep the temperament under control. If the child has additional problems like ADHD or depression, some medicines are used to treat ODD inclusively.


Complete prevention of ODD is not possible, and there is no specific medicine to prevent it. Recognizing the disorder at the initial stage and taking medical advice is the best prevention of ODD. A positive and supportive environment helps take ODD children under control. If started early, the treatment of ODD will be helpful. So do not get late and take this disorder seriously if any symptoms become prominent.