Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

ODD is a persistent pattern (lasting for at least six months) of negativistic, hostile, disobedient, and defiant behavior in a child or teen without serious violation of the basic rights of others.

Symptoms of ODD may include the following behaviors when they occur more often than normal for your age group:

  • losing your temper;
  • arguing with adults;
  • defying adults or refusing adult requests or rules;
  • deliberately annoying others;
  • blaming others for your own mistakes or misbehavior;
  • being touchy or easily annoyed;
  • being angry and resentful;
  • being spiteful or vindictive;
  • swearing or using obscene language; or
  • having a low opinion of yourself.

The person with ODD is moody and easily frustrated, has a low opinion of him or herself, and may abuse drugs.

The cause of ODD is unknown at this time. The following are some of the theories being investigated:

  • It may be related to the child's temperament and the family's response to that temperament.
  • A predisposition to ODD is inherited in some families.
  • There may be problems in the brain that cause ODD.
  • It may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

The course of ODD is different in different people. It is a disorder of childhood and adolescence that usually begins by age 8, if not earlier. In some children it changes into a conduct disorder or a mood disorder. Later in life, it can develop into Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder. With treatment, reasonable social and occupational adjustment can be made in adulthood.

Treatment of ODD usually consists of group, individual and/or family therapy and education, keeping a consistent daily schedule, support, limit-setting, discipline, consistent rules, having a healthy role model to look up to, training in how to get along with others, behavior modification, and sometimes residential treatment, day treatment and/or medication.