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A Remarkable Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder

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A Remarkable Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder is the most common behavioural disorder. This disorder majorly affects the children. In this disorder, children usually exhibit uncooperative and aggressive behaviour. Moreover, ODD also involves consistent disobedience. However, if you want to learn more about what is oppositional defiant disorder, then this article is ideal for you. You will also find out the oppositional defiant disorder therapies.

Oppositional defiant disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder is the most common type of behavioural disorder that mostly occurs in children. Affected children usually exhibit their anger towards others. Their undesired behaviour exerts negative effects on their personal and academic life. Such affected children are unable to invest their time in productive activities. Moreover, their pattern of anger remains persistent for a longer period. They become habitual in taking revenge due to their extreme anger.

In children, ODD is also called the disruptive behaviour.  However, they include more severity and last longer than usual behavioural disorders. Furthermore, the prevalence of ODD is more common in boys as compared to girls.

Oppositional defiant disorder in teens

Children usually show their defiant behaviour and give arguments from time to time. When they are upset, hungry or tired, they show their anger. Oppositional and defiant behaviour normally occurs at the teenage stage. Moreover, when they are compared with other children, the hostile and defensive behaviour of the children becomes an alarming situation. Different researchers have reported that ODD disorder affects approximately 11% of children.

If the situation persists, then it can affect their maturity stages, too. Some common severe symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder in adults include:

  1. Frequent antagonism
  2. More often, temper tantrums in teenage
  3. Contentious behaviour
  4. Negative attitude
  5. Open revenge
  6. Refuse to follow the rules of elders
  7. Anger in return for rejection
  8. Extra sensitivity
  9. Bitterness
  10.  Verbal aggressiveness
  11. Frustrations
  12.  Habitual in telling lies
  13. Alcohol or drug abuse

Normally, At the adulthood stage, the level of aggression is increased. Moreover, when different adolescent hormones are released, the common frustration and anger in children also increase. This indicates that teens are more involved in illegal activities. If children are punished for doing wrong deeds, their behaviour also turns into a negative state.

Oppositional defiant disorder symptoms

Most of the time, it is tough to distinguish between an emotionally stressed child and a child suffering from oppositional defiant disorder. Oppositional and defiant disorder symptoms usually begin in the preschool phase. While in some cases, symptoms usually appear in the teen years. The duration of symptoms also varies based on the age of the children. In case of severe environmental stress factors, the symptoms usually last for several months. The most common oppositional defiant disorder symptoms include:

  • Hatred towards others
  • Loose temper in a frequent manner
  • Extremely rude behaviour
  • Often deny respect to their elders
  • Mostly, they find ways to take revenge against others
  • Use of abusive language
  • Exhibiting the tantrums

Types of ODD

Different types and symptoms of ODD can answer the question of what is oppositional defiant disorder. There are three different types of ODD which include:

Stimulus Dependant ODD

In this type of ODD, the children also exhibit some symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is essential to treat ADHD before treating this type.

Cognitive overload ODD

Children suffering from this ODD type face difficulty in learning. They are unable to acquire excellence in both academic and professional fields. Moreover, anxiety or depression also increases the intensity of this ODD. 

Fearful ODD

As the name indicates, fearful ODD involves the intensity of fear, anxiety or depression.

Difference between the ODD symptoms of boys and girls

The ODD symptoms of both boys and girls are extremely different. This fact explains what is oppositional defiant disorder. Boys usually show more anger and get aggressive even on small things. On the other hand, girls do not directly show their explosive anger. They indirectly express their negative emotions. They refuse to provide support and often tell lies to their loved ones.

Oppositional defiant disorder diagnosis

If your child suffers from this disorder, you can diagnose the condition with the symptoms. Furthermore, physicians also conduct surveys to gather information from parents, friends and teachers. However, the easiest and most widely used diagnostic factors include:

  1. Continued anger
  2. Persistent annoying behaviour
  3. Desire to get revenge

Moreover,  physicians conduct different psychological exams. The most asked questions in the evaluation include:

  1. How often does the child show annoying behaviour
  2. Which factors trigger the anger
  3. Is the child healthy?
  4. What kind of emotions does a child exhibit in their personal life
  5. What kind of problems are parents facing?
  6. Is the child facing any difficulty in communication
  7. Is the child obtaining good scores in exams or not?
  8. How often does the child interact with the relatives or other family members?

The presence of ADHD can increase the intensity of oppositional defiant disorder. ADHD is directly linked to impulsivity. The increased impulsivity is then responsible for emotional instability. The extent of ODD symptoms is based on emotional dysregulation.

Cause of oppositional defiant disorder

Different studies have reported different causes of this disorder. However, the exact cause is unknown.

Two main theories are involved in the main causes:

Learning theory

This theory explains that oppositional defiant disorder symptoms result from learning behaviour. The harsh behaviour of parents or teachers can reinforce the negative symptoms in children. However, most of the children usually show their anger to seek attention. Children also show their aggressive behaviour, if their parents or close friends avoid them.

Developmental theory

According to this theory, oppositional defiant disorder symptoms usually appear during the developmental stages. Children face complexities in their learning and are unable to withstand environmental conditions. They just want to remain attached to their parents and loved ones. However, loss of attachment becomes a major reason for developing ODD symptoms.

Comorbid disorders:

The presence of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and eating disorders, can also elevate the ODD symptoms.


Genes also play a significant role in the development of ODD. Different studies have indicated that the inherited genes cause 50% ODD. If you have a previous family history of ODD, then there is more probability that your child will be affected by ODD.

Chemical imbalances

Few changes occur in certain regions of the brain. There are different types of neurotransmitters which are released in the body. They are specifically involved in the effective coordination of the brain and different body parts. Abnormalities in neurotransmitters can cause the onset of this disorder.

Environmental factors

Stress is the main environmental factor that can develop ODD in children. If the child is living in a very chaotic family, then there is more likelihood of having this disorder. Furthermore, a lack of consideration among parents, teachers, or friends can also contribute to ODD development.

Biological factors

Any sudden injury that can cause damage in the brain areas can also lead to ODD. Moreover, various traumatic situations can also affect children’s brains and behaviour.

Psychological factors

A child’s irritable personality and mindset also contribute to the development of ODD. Their psychological attitude gets altered, when they fail to get effective recognition from society.

Learn more: How Can Neurofeedback Treat Anxiety ?

What does oppositional defiant disorder turn into?

Some researchers have suggested that the presence of ODD can lead to severe antisocial behaviour. However, extended social behaviour can lead to criminal activities. Such behaviour is referred to as conduct disorder. A person suffering from this behavioural disorder destroys their life by indulging in negative activities. However, with effective therapeutic procedures, the conduct disorder can be effectively treated.

Parents should get immediate help from professional health experts. Therefore, a professional health expert plays a significant role in treating this disorder. To effectively implement strategies, a health expert should be trained and skilled. Moreover, experts should be capable of creating a secure environment for the children so they can share their inner thoughts and emotions. Brainpower Wellness Institute is the best platform that provides various skilled health experts.

Does ODD improve over time?

ODD patients can recover easily. However, the recovery period is varied based on the age. Various studies have reported that approximately 67% of ODD patients show improvements in disorder within three years. On the other hand, the ratio of ODD patients turned to CD is extremely low.

Furthermore, if the child gets affected in early life, there is a reduced chance of having this disorder later in life. Similarly, the danger of getting other behavioural or mental disorders is also greater in preschool children.

Misdiagnosis of ODD as Gifted Children

Gifted children are normally misdiagnosed as ODD. One of the main factors is that they always desire perfection. They love to devise the principles for their life pleasure. They show anger, which is then misdiagnosed as ODD. if someone distracts them from their core tasks, they exhibit extreme anger. In some cases, gifted children’s symptoms are diagnosed as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Gifted children spend their time organizing their things into complex structures.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Vs ADHD

There are several differences between oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Children suffering from ODD exhibit strong negativity. While on the other hand, ADD-affected individuals usually lose control over their emotions. They become incapable of paying attention to their vital tasks for an extended period.

Moreover, ADHD is a neurocognitive disorder that affects brain growth and development. While ODD is a behavioural disorder in which a child exhibits repeated hostile and arrogant behaviour.

Similarly, the onset of symptoms in ADHD and ODD are also different. The onset of oppositional defiant disorder starts at about eight years of age. While ADHD symptoms can easily appear at the age of 3 years.

Oppositional defiant disorder treatment

Different oppositional defiant disorder therapies are used to treat this disorder, which includes:

Cognitive Behavioural therapy

Talk therapy is useful in teaching problem-solving skills to children. Ultimately, children learn to implement productive strategies. Experts who specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry effectively perform this therapy.


To treat ODD, any specialized medication is not specifically approved by the FDA. However, medications to treat the other diseases’ symptoms are preferred. Different antidepressants are also used if the teenager is suffering from anxiety or depression. The following medications are widely used which includes:


Antipsychotics are specifically used to treat psychotic disorders, which include:

  • Abilify
  • Risperdal
  • Seroquel


These medicines can stimulate the neurons, resulting in effective communication between them. The most common psychostimulants include Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta and Vyanse.

Parent training

The best treatment for oppositional defiant disorder is parent training. This training assists the parents to alter their toxic behaviour against their children. They learn those strategies that help create the disciplinary environment. The typical environment where parents always blame their children is extremely lethal for a child’s mental health. However, in lots of cases, parents usually show harsh behaviour towards children. Instead of accepting their  own mistakes, they only blame their children to remove the label of being a bad parent. Parents should consider this and take some useful measures to prevent this situation.  Engage your children in healthy physical activities to make them mentally active and strong.

Diet also plays an important role in regulating the maintaining health. Intake of fresh, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and nuts also plays an important role in effective health.

Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT)

In this therapy, parents get a guide from therapists on how to interact with their children. The therapist remains hidden from the parent and then shares the positive reinforcement strategies with the parent. In this way, parents can learn the best parenting tactics to deal with  ODD children. PCIT is extremely helpful in reducing the problem behaviours of children.

Social skills training

ODD children always avoid their social life. So,  social skills training can teach them to opt for flexibility in their behaviour. This training can also enhance their social interaction with their peers effectively. Moreover, neurofeedback therapy is also used.

Some lifestyle Changes

Learn to praise your children to boost their confidence. Give them the rewards, especially to younger children, as they need more attention and care. Likewise, make some positive changes in your behaviour so your child will mimic you and interact with others sanely.

Learn more: Top notch Benefits of Neurofeedback Therapy

Prevention of ODD

Although, it’s extremely difficult to prevent oppositional and defiant disorder. However, the onset of symptoms and triggering factors can prevented. Moreover, effective preventive strategies are also advantageous in avoiding other associated symptoms. Moreover, the family or teachers should be aware to prevent the lethal consequences. A positive and supportive domestic environment is enough to prevent ODD episodes.

Last thoughts

Oppositional defiant disorder is a common and serious behavioural disorder. Thus disorder mainly affects the children. Affected children usually show uncooperative behaviour. They remain angry all the time. The hostile behaviour exerts a negative impact on their life. Different environmental and general factors are responsible for this disorder. However, effective talk therapy and other therapeutic procedures are used to treat this disorder. So this article gives you a clear insight into what is oppositional defiant disorder. Brainpower Wellness Institute is a renowned platform for providing top-notch services to treat or prevent ODD. Highly skilled oppositional defiant disorder specialists are 24/7 available to cater the health needs.

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