11645 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder



    Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder in children and teens. Those with this disorder show negative, angry, and defiant behaviors much more often than most people of the same age. So much so that these behaviors begin to adversely affect the person’s relationships and ability to perform successfully in school, work, and family situations.


    The cause of ODD is unknown. Like other psychiatric disorders, ODD results from a combination of genetic, family, and social factors. Children with ODD may inherit chemical imbalances in the brain that predispose them to the disorder.
    Child's Brain
    Child Brain
    A chemical imbalance in the brain may be responsible for ODD.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Risk Factors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for ODD include:
    • Sex: male
    • Age: childhood and teen years
    • A parent with a mood, conduct, attention deficit, or substance abuse disorder
    • Marital conflict
    • Child abuse
    • Inconsistent parental attention
    • Low socioeconomic status


    Symptoms usually begin around age 8 and increase over several months.
    Children with ODD often:
    • Argue with adults
    • Lose their tempers
    • Refuse to follow adults' requests or rules
    • Deliberately annoy others and are annoyed by others
    • Are angry and resentful
    • Are spiteful or vindictive
    • Blame others for their own mistakes
    • Have low self-esteem


    The doctor will ask about symptoms, medical history, and family history, and perform a physical exam. The doctor will also look for other conduct disorders.
    Diagnosis of ODD is based on these criteria:
    • Child displays at least four common symptoms (see symptoms above).
    • Symptoms occur more often and have more serious consequences than is typical in children of a similar age.
    • Symptoms lead to significant problems in school, work, or social life.
    • Symptoms are continuously present for at least 6 months.


    Treatment may include the following:

    Parent Training

    Training is designed to help parents manage their child's behavior.

    Child Psychotherapy

    The purpose of the psychotherapy is to teach the child better ways to manage anger.

    Family Psychotherapy

    Family therapy helps to improve family communication skills.

    Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

    This type of therapy helps the child and family members learn problem-solving skills and decrease negativity.

    Social Skills Training

    This is training to help the child reduce frustration with peers.


    There are no guidelines for preventing ODD.


    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org

    American Psychiatric Association http://www.psych.org


    Canadian Psychiatric Association http://www.cpa-apc.org

    Canadian Psychological Association http://www.cpa.ca


    American Psychiatry Association. Available at: http://www.psych.org.

    Children with oppositional defiant disorder. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry website. Available at: http://www.aacap.org/publications/factsfam/72.htm. Accessed July 2003.

    The Merck Manual of Medical Information—Home Edition. Simon and Schuster, Inc.; 2000.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.