Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional Defiant Disorder symptoms

Oppositional Defiant Disorder symptoms Sometimes it may happen that your child is suffering from the oppositional defiant disorder and you may not even have an idea of it.  Yes, it’s shocking but true that children who show the constant signs of being rebellious, uncooperative, aggressive and disobedient may be suffering from a kind of serious disorder known as the Oppositional Defiant Disorder

As all the above mentioned signs are common among children at certain stages, you have to be careful if you find your child showing these symptoms extremely and continuously from the recent past.  This is a disorder that has to be diagnosed and treated immediately before your child becomes a problem for everyone, and it is necessary to save him/her from being alienated in the society.

What Is An Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

This is a kind of disorder which can be found in anyone from a two year old to an adolescent or even in a youngster.  As the term ‘ODD’ self explains the condition, children who are suffering from this disorder develop a defiant and aggressive behavior especially towards the adult authoritative figures.  They are always moody and angry and sometimes they may also exceed to the extent of physically assaulting others.

Usually, it may take time for you to understand that your child is suffering from ODD, as the symptoms of ODD usually seem to be normal or you may think that your child itself is aggressive by nature.  However, the only way to ensure that your child is affected with this disorder is to compare his/her behavior with that of the other children of his/her age, and if you find that your child has been overreacting and his/her behavior has been abnormal and different from the behavior of other children, it means that your child has developed ODD and it is time for you to seek medical assistance.

Symptoms Of ODD

Though it is difficult to differentiate between a child of an independent and emotional nature with that of one suffering from ODD, if you find the following symptoms to be persistent at least for the past six months, and your child’s nature has been creating problems at home, school and the neighborhood, it is clear that your child is effected with ODD.


Hence, in order to make sure look out for certain symptoms in your child like constantly arguing and quarrelling, showing anger and hatred, defying to obey the parents and other adults, finding difficulty in socializing with others, intentionally annoying people, always being touchy and sensitive, always speaking and thinking negative, beating up other children, blaming others for his/her mistakes and having a revenge seeking attitude.

Causes Of ODD

Though this disorder is prevalent among children, the main cause for this condition is still unknown.  However, some of the following factors put together as a whole is said to cause ODD in children.

Biological Factors

Some of the researchers associate the cause of ODD to the brain.  According to them, the improper functioning of the neurotransmitters or imbalance of certain chemicals like serotonin in brain can be one of the reasons for this condition.  These imbalances are said to cause psychiatric and neurological disorders such as mood changes, irritation, inability to recognize and accept the reality, and developing fearlessness for punishment in children.

Environmental Factors

Apart from the above, a child can also develop ODD if he is exposed to an unfavorable psychological environment at home or at school in his/her daily life.  Situations like domestic conflicts among the parents, abuse of the child, harsh parenting, neglect or lack of supervision of the child, drug addiction of the parents or even a poor financial situation are deemed to cause ODD in children.  Sometimes, stressful situations at school or even an unfavorable neighboring environment may also be the cause for this condition.

Genetic Factors

ODD may also occur in children by heredity.  Children whose parents or close relatives are suffering from this disorder are easily susceptible to develop this condition by the way of the transmission of the genes.

Treatment Of ODD

ODD is a condition which can be treated effectively and there are certain therapies available for both the child and the parents to effectively deal with this situation.  Generally, ODD is considered to coexist with certain other disorders such as ADHD, depression, anxiety and learning disabilities among children.  Hence, drugs are not prescribed for ODD unless it is diagnosed that the child is suffering from any other mental disorder like ADHD or depression, for which medications may be necessary.

ODD treatment

The therapies that are generally prescribed for the treatment of ODD are parent-child interaction therapy, individual psychotherapy, cognitive problem solving training and social skills training for the child, and a special parents training for the adults to teach them effective parenting skills and measures to deal with the children suffering from this unusual condition.

Apart from the assistance of a medical practitioner, parents will also be instructed to change their behavior and try some changes at home like praising their child for its positive qualities, play a role model for their child’s behavior, set reasonable consequences to enforce discipline, avoid power struggles, set up the routine habits, spend time together with their child and ensure that everyone at home maintains consistency in implementing the disciplinary rules.

How To Cope With Your Child With ODD?

Parenting an ODD child can be a testing time for the parents.  At times, everything may seem impossible and hence a proper counseling would help you a lot in this matter.  As a parent of an ODD child, you need to be more energetic and relaxed in order to deal with him/her patiently.  Hence, take a break, exercise and practice some relaxation techniques.

Instead of constantly worrying about your child, divert your attention for a while and concentrate upon other issues.  Remember that only by changing your behavior you can model and remold your child’s behavior.  Hence forgiving, keeping calm and avoiding unnecessary conflicts with your child will benefit both you and your child.

Normally, parenting and disciplining a child is not an easy task.  Moreover, the condition like ODD adds up much to the difficulty.  So, generally while dealing with your child always ensure that you are well aware of the nature and capabilities of your child, and then go for adopting disciplinary measures according to its appropriate age and abilities.  Always avoid any violent or strict measures in dealing with your child, or else you will soon find him/her becoming a victim to the Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and the person responsible for that would be none other than you.

Thena sivakumar