• 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. 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 make them more likely to have 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

    ODD is more common in males. Other factors that may increase your child's risk for ODD include:
    • 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


    You will be asked about your child's symptoms, medical history, and family history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will also look for other conduct disorders.
    Diagnosis of ODD is based on these criteria:
    • Child displays at least 4 common symptoms.
    • 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 current guidelines to prevent 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


    Children with oppositional defiant disorder. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry website. Available at: http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families%5Fand%5FYouth/Facts%5Ffor%5FFamilies/Facts%5Ffor%5FFamilies%5FPages/Children%5FWith%5FOppositional%5FDefiant%5FDisorder%5F72.aspx. Accessed June 6, 2016.

    Oppositional defiant disorder in children. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/oppositional-defiant-disorder. Accessed June 6, 2016.

    Oppositional defiant disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114094/Oppositional-defiant-disorder. Updated April 11, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2016.

    Revision Information

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