It is a challenging task to manage even the best-behaved children at times. Now, if your child or teenaged kid frequently and persistently exhibits a pattern of anger, argument, defiance, irritability, or vindictiveness either towards you and/or others in authority, he/she may be suffering from oppositional defiant disorder or ODD. Such behaviour often disrupts the normal daily functioning of your child, including activities and relationships within the family as well as at school.
It is normal for children to be defiant of authority at times. They might argue, disobey, or talk back to adults (parents and/or teachers) as a way of expressing defiance. However, when this behaviour lasts for more than six months and exceeds normal limits for their age, it might indicate that they are suffering from ODD.
A majority of the children or teens having ODD may often have at least one more mental health condition such as:
• Attention-deficit hyperactivity/disorder or ADHD
• Anxiety disorder, including obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD
• Learning differences
• Impulse control disorders
• Mood disorder, such as depression
Approximately 30 percent of the children with this disorder develop conduct disorder, a more serious behaviour condition. ODD behaviours may continue into adulthood if it is not diagnosed properly and treated.
In general, the ODD symptoms seen in children and those in their teens can also be seen in other others who don’t have the condition. This makes it difficult to identify to differentiate between a child with ODD and a strong-willed/emotional child. Sometimes, autism and oppositional defiant disorder may go hand in hand. Parents may mistake a confused but strong-willed adolescent suffering from high-functioning autism to have ODD and autism. As each teenager is different, it becomes difficult to identify certain issues that happen alongside autism. Furthermore, there are five different types of autism.
Typically, ODD signs and symptoms start showing up during preschool years. At times, the development of the odd symptoms may be delayed. However, the symptoms almost always develop before a child’s early teens, causing significant impairment with social activities, family, school, and work.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists emotional and behavioural symptoms as follows:
Irritable and angry mood:
• Easily loses temper often
• Very touchy and is easily annoyed by others
• Often exhibits anger and resentfulness
Defiant and argumentative behaviour:
• Argues frequently with adults/people in authority
• Actively defies/refuses conforming to rules and requests of adults or rules
• Deliberately annoys/upsets people frequently
• Blames others frequently for his/her mistakes/misbehaviour
• Remains spiteful or vindictive most of the time
• Seeks revenge
• Makes mean and hateful remarks when angry/upset
The severity of ODD can vary. Children with mild ODD exhibit symptoms only in one setting: at school, home, work, or when with peers. While those with moderate ODD exhibit symptoms in at least 2 settings, children with severe ODD exhibit symptoms in more than three settings.
Causes and Risk Factors
There are no known causes of ODD. A combination of environmental and genetic factors contributes to the development of the disorder.
Genetics: A child's temperament or natural disposition and probably neurobiological differences (the way their brains and nerves function)
Environment: Parenting problems such as lack of supervision, harsh discipline, abuse, or neglect
The risk factors associated with the development of this composite problem include:
Temperament: The temperament of a child may be such that he/she may find it difficult to regulate emotions (reacting emotionally to situations or finding it difficult to tolerate frustration)
Parenting issues: A child that experiences neglect or abuse, harsh disciplining, or reduced parental supervision
Other family issues: A child that experiences parent/family discord or has a parent suffering from a mental health/substance use disorder
Environment: Oppositional behaviours that are reinforced and strengthened by peers and inconsistent discipline imposed by authority figures like teachers.
If you are looking for the best centre for the treatment of oppositional defiant disorder in Alleppey, we at SoftMind can help you. We have a team of psychotherapists and hypnotherapists who have the expertise and the experience to provide appropriate treatment for children having ODD.
At SoftMind, treatment for ODD typically involves family-based interventions. It may also include psychotherapy for children and parents. Treatment can last for many months as it is important to treat the co-occurring problems like learning disorder. This is because these disorders can worsen ODD symptoms.
In general, ODD treatment never involves use of medications unless your child has a mental health disorder. For children with coexisting disorders such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD, medications may be helpful in improving the symptoms. ODD treatment usually includes parent training, parent-child interaction therapy or PCIT, Individual as well as family therapy, cognitive problem-solving training, and social skills training.