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What is ODD? 

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a type of behavior disorder that makes children uncooperative, defiant, and hostile toward peers, parents, teachers, and other authority figures. The child's behavior often disrupts their daily routine and the people involved in their daily routine. 

Many children and teens with ODD also have other behavioral problems, like attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, mood disorders (such as depression), and anxiety disorders. 

Signs and Symptoms

When this behavior lasts longer than six months and goes beyond what is usual for the child’s age, it might suggest that the child has ODD. Here are some signs to look for: 

  • Throwing repeated temper tantrums
  • Excessively arguing with adults, especially those with authority
  • Actively refusing to comply with requests and rules
  • Trying to annoy or upset others, or being easily annoyed by others
  • Blaming others for their mistakes
  • Having frequent outbursts of anger and resentment
  • Being spiteful and seeking revenge
  • Swearing or using obscene language
  • Saying mean and hateful things when upset

Diagnosis and Treatment 

Some symptoms may look like other mental health problems. Make sure your child sees their physician a diagnosis so you can seek early treatment to prevent future challenges. If your child needs to see a behavioral health specialist your Lee Health physician can give you a referral. 

There's no known clear cause of ODD. Different treatments may help your child learn to control their behavior. Treatment may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Peer group therapy
  • Medication

Strategies you can try at home include: 

  • Praise specific positive behaviors
  • Pick your battles
  • Set clear limits and boundaries
  • Follow a consistent schedule and routine
  • Work together consistently

If you think your child might have ODD or you think there could be a problem with the way your child behaves and interacts with authority, contact your child’s doctor, and share your concerns.