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Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior disorder. It is mostly diagnosed in childhood. Children with ODD are uncooperative, defiant, and hostile toward peers, parents, teachers, and other authority figures. They are more troubling to others than they are to themselves.
Researchers don’t know what causes ODD. But there are 2 main theories for why it occurs:
ODD is more common in boys than in girls. Children with the following mental health problems are also more likely to have ODD:
Most symptoms seen in children and teens with ODD also happen at times in other children without it. This is especially true for children around ages 2 or 3, or during the teen years. Many children tend to disobey, argue with parents, or defy authority. They may often behave this way when they are tired, hungry, or upset. But in children and teens with ODD, these symptoms happen more often. They also interfere with learning and school adjustment. And in some cases, they disrupt the child’s relationships with others.
Symptoms of ODD may include:
These symptoms may look like other mental health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
If you notice symptoms of ODD in your child or teen, you can help by seeking a diagnosis right away. Early treatment can often prevent future problems.
A child psychiatrist or qualified mental health expert can diagnose ODD. He or she will talk with the parents and teachers about the child’s behavior and may observe the child. In some cases, your child may need mental health testing.
Early treatment can often prevent future problems. Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and health. It will also depend on how bad the ODD is.
Children with ODD may need to try different therapists and types of therapies before they find what works for them. Treatment may include:
Researchers don’t know what causes ODD. But certain approaches can help prevent the disorder. Young children be helped by early intervention programs that teach them social skills and how to deal with anger. For teens, talk therapy (psychotherapy), learning social skills, and getting help with schoolwork can all help reduce problem behaviors. School-based programs can also help to stop bullying and improve relationships among teens.
Parent-management training programs are also important. These programs teach parents how to manage their child’s behavior. Parents learn positive reinforcement methods, and also how to discipline their child.
Early treatment for your child can often prevent future problems. Here are things you can do to help:
Call your child’s healthcare provider right away if your child:
Call 911 if your child has suicidal thoughts, a suicide plan, and the means to carry out the plan.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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