ODD problem: Oppositional defiant disorder can affect best-behaved children too
May 26, 2017 0 Comments
Every child can be disobedient from time to time due to his or her hunger, tiredness, stress or bad mood. The child may argue, or be insolent towards parents and other adults. When such behavior becomes too frequent, lasts for more than six months, and starts affecting the child’s social, family and academic life, it could be a case of disruptive behavior disorder (DBD), known as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).
One of the most common mental health disorders in the United States, the ODD-affected children and adolescents are stubborn, argumentative and short-tempered. The disorder can be diagnosed even in the best-behaved children who can at times be uncooperative and hostile, show a constant pattern of anger and be verbally aggressive towards parents and other authority figures.
Children and teens affected by ODD are likely to have other behavioral problems, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), learning disabilities, mood disorders like depression, and anxiety disorders. The condition can get so severe that the child’s ODD might turn into a more serious behavioral disorder, called conduct disorder (CD).
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), between 1 and 16 percent of children and adolescents have ODD. The condition usually begins to appear in late preschool or early school-aged children. In younger children, the disorder is more common in boys than girls. But it affects both boys and girls equally in school-age.
Although the exact cause of ODD is not yet known, there are several factors that can trigger its development. These are mentioned below:
- Biological: Factors such as a parent with a history of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), ODD, or CD, mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder (BD), and drinking or drug abuse. Brain impairment related to reasoning, judgment, and impulse control, exposure to toxins and poor nutrition are some of the other biological triggers.
- Psychological: Factors such as poor relationship with one or more parent, neglectful or absent parent/s, difficulty or inability to form social relationships or process social cues, and others.
- Social: Factors, such as poverty, chaotic environment, abuse, neglect, lack of supervision, uninvolved parents, inconsistent discipline and family instability.
Children with ODD argue with parents
While a child with ODD displays an uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior towards his/her elders and seniors, there are a number of other symptoms that signify its presence. A few of these are:
- Frequent outbursts
- Arguing or disobeying adults or other figures with authority
- Active defiance and refusal to obey adult requests and rules
- Deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
- Accusing others for his/her mistakes or misbehavior
- Getting easily annoyed by others
- Frequent anger and resentment
- Revenge seeking attitude
- Barefaced aggression towards others
- Unwillingness to compromise
- Intentionally ruining friendships
- Frequent frustration
- Inability to concentrate
- Difficulty making friends
- Loss of self-esteem
- Persistent negativity
- Consistent feelings of annoyance
ODD leads to social isolation
A misdiagnosed or untreated ODD can lead to multiple problems in a child’s life. However, these effects vary from person to person on the basis of their genetic makeup, severity of the condition, usage of drugs and others. Some of the common ways in which this condition can impact a child’s life are as mentioned below:
- Social isolation
- Lack of friendship
- Inability to develop meaningful relationships
- Poor academic performance
- Poor interpersonal relationship
- Criminal behavior
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal ideations
Treatment can help
If a child shows any signs of developing ODD, it is important to seek medical intervention immediately. A qualified mental health professional can provide you with the right kind of support. Diagnosing the child on the basis of information collected from parents, teachers, and daycare providers as well as directly from the child can be really helpful in ensuring that the right treatment is offered.
Treatment can be offered to the child using medications; therapies such as, social skills programs and school-based programs; cognitive problem-solving skills training; as well as parent-management training programs; and family therapy.
Parents can also directly help their child to deal with ODD by assisting him/her build on the positives, praising the child for being cooperative, taking a break if they are about to make the conflict with their child worse, setting up certain age appropriate limits with consequences that can be enforced consistently, etc.
If you know a teenage boy who is dealing with ODD or some other mental illness, like depression or anxiety, White River Academy can help. One of the leading therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens, it is located in Utah. Call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our medical experts to seek more information about other therapeutic residential schools in the U.S.