oppositional defiant disorder

What does ODD mean in a child?

What is ODD(oppositional defiant disorder)?

OPPOSITIONAL DEFIANT DISORDER  – Children’s who often argue with their parents or authoritative figure and denies to follow and rules and regulations actively defies or refuses to comply with anyone, primarily parents the peers or the teachers. People ignore these signs of oppositional defiant disorder and term it as “child’s normal behaviour”, but the normal children’s occasionally have an outburst of frustration and disobedience, but a persistent habit of irritation and opposition against any authoritative figure is a symptom of the oppositional defiant disorder.

Most people can’t distinguish between these, which is wrong on so many levels and later, when this gets severe, no one wants to take the blame for ignoring the symptoms. A person with the oppositional defiant disorder is more troubling to others than themselves. It is a chronic disease and can last for years or even lifelong.

How common is oppositional defiant Disorder? 

“ODD typically begins by the age of 8. It is calculated that 2 to 16 per cent of kids and teens have ODD. In younger children, ODD is more common in boys; in older children, it occurs about equally in boys and girls.”

Symptoms of oppositional defiant Disorder(ODD)

There is not just one symptom that points towards ODD; there needs to be a pattern of multiple symptoms occurring over a while. 

Symptoms in Children

Children with ODD display behaviour that are challenging for parents and educators. ODD most commonly affects children and adolescents. The symptoms include; 

  • Frequent temper tantrums or episodes of anger.
  • Refusal to comply with adult requests.
  • Excessive arguing with adults and authority figures.
  • Constantly questioning or actively disregarding rules.
  • Being easily annoyed.
  • Causing conflict.
  • No sense of conscience.
  • Low tolerance for frustration.

Symptoms in Adults

The disorder in adults are often difficult to diagnose because many of the Systems can overlap with anti-social behaviours, substance abuse or any other disorders. The symptoms of ODD in adults include;

  • Feeling angry at the world.
  • Feeling misunderstood or disliked 
  • Strong dislike for authority, including supervisors at work.
  • Identifying as a rebel.
  • Defending themselves vehemently and not being open to feedback.
  • Blaming others for their own mistakes.
  • Vindictiveness: acting spitefully

The oppositional-defiant disorder varies in severity:

  • MILD: Symptoms arise only in one setting, for example, at home, school, work or with peers.


  • MODERATE: Some signs occur in at least two situations and settings.


  • SEVERE: some indications occur in around three or more situations.

Causes of oppositional defiant Disorder

There are no known clear causes of the oppositional defiant disorder. Contributing causes may be combinations of many. These include; 

  • GENETICS:  ODD may be inherited, which means a child with even one of the parents having ODD earlier may have higher chances to get it. It is also important to note that many children’s and teens with ODD have close family members with mental disorders, such as ADHD, learning disorders, depression, and anxiety disorder.


  • ENVIRONMENTAL: The environment around a person can also affect a child chances to have ODD  and can be one of the factors contributing to such as chaotic family life, a family history of mental disorders or substance abuse and inconsistent discipline by parents.


  • BIOLOGICAL: Some studies also suggest that defects or injuries to specific brain areas can lead to behaviour disorders. Furthermore, ODD has been connected to particular chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. If these chemicals are out of balance or not working correctly, it can lead to symptoms of ODD. Or any other mental disorders such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), learning disorders, anxiety disorders, and even personality disorders.

Treatments of ODD

Early treatment is essential for people with ODD. Teenagers and grown-ups with non-treated ODD have heightened danger for depression and substance disorder. Treatments options include;


  • FAMILY THERAPY: As the environment around affects ODD, the whole family can make changes by following a psychologist, and the changes will help the child to get better earlier and can help the parents find support and learn strategies for handling their children’s ODD.


  • PARENTS-CHILD INTERACTION THERAPY: In this therapy, the parents learn from the coach about ODD and how to interact with their children’s with ODD. Parents can learn more effective parenting techniques, which would help them get to know their kid better.


  • PEER GROUPS: Peer groups are places where many people with disorders interact and learn how to improve their social skills and relationships with other people around them.

INDIVIDUAL COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY: A psychologist will work with the child to improve:

  1.   Anger management skills
  2.   Communication skills
  3.   Impulse control 
  4.   Social skills 
  • MEDICATIONS: There is no specific medication to treat ODD itself, but meditation can help treat ODD causes, such as depression or ADHD.

Can oppositional defiant Disorder be prevented?

  • It might not be possible to prevent ODD but recognising and acting on symptoms when they first appear can minimise distress and the chances of severity to the child. It can also prevent many problems associated with the disorder, such as problems with family etc.

When to see a Doctor?

The child isn’t likely to see any problems with their behaviour and probably complain about unreasonable demands or blame others for the problems. But if the child is showing signs of ODD or any other disruptive behaviour or you’re concerned about your ability as a parent, seek help from a psychologist or a child psychiatrist with expertise in the field. 


The oppositional defiant disorder is disruptive behaviour in the child when they defy to deny to follow any rules and regulations by any authorities figure such as parents or teachers. Its symptoms start showing early from the age of 8; ODD is a chronic disease and can be for years and even for life long if not treated properly. There isn’t an apparent cause of ODD, but the genetics, environment around a child and biological problem related to the brain play an ample amount of role in it. There are many treatments available to help the person struggling with ODD, such as peer groups, family therapies and medications. Always seek medical help to help the person struggling with ODD.

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