Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize the difference between a strong-willed or emotional child and a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). It’s normal to exhibit oppositional behavior at certain stages of a child’s development. Signs of ODD generally begin during preschool years. While ODD may develop later, symptoms typically occur before the early teen years. These behaviors may cause significant impairment with family, social activities, school and work.
Some of the symptoms may include:
- Angry and irritable moods
- Being quick tempered
- Becoming easily annoyed by others
- Resentment towards others
- Argumentative and defiant behavior
- Argues with adults or people in authority
- Actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules
- Deliberately annoying or upsetting people
- Blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
ODD can vary in severity:
Mild: Symptoms occur only in one setting, such as only at home, school, work or with peers
Moderate: Symptoms occur in at least two settings
Severe: Symptoms occur in three or more settings
IDCC places a strong emphasis on family involvement in the treatment process of ODD. Much of the latest research has shown that involving parents in the treatment process greatly improves children’s response to treatment and helps generalize results to many other environmental factors. With parental consent, IDCC also places an emphasis on collaboration with schools and any other organizations that are involved in your child’s life.
One of the most popular evidence-based treatments is a type of behavior therapy called parent-child interaction therapy. In this therapy, the parent and child work together through a set of exercises while a therapist coaches parents through an ear bud. Parents learn to increase positive interactions with their child and learn to set consistent consequences for undesirable behavior. Through this treatment, children learn to rein in behavior and enjoy a more supportive relationship with parents.
Medicines are not specifically prescribed for ODD. However, as many children with ODD have co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, they may be on medications for those other disorders. In addition, some children are troubled by their own aggression, and have difficulty managing their painfully low frustration tolerance without medication. Clinicians may recommend medication to help them control those responses and benefit more from behavioral therapy.