ADD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder


"I have a nine-year-old son who takes Ritalin. He has poor hygeine and seriously misbehaves at home and at school. Does he have ODD?"

Dr. Larry Silver M.D. is the author of two books about parenting ADHD/LD children.

I share your concern with your son's behaviors. My first question is whether his ADHD is adequately treated. Is he on the proper dose of medication, taking it at the proper times, and taking it all day, every day? It may be that some of his behaviors are because the medication may not be providing optimal results.

My other question is whether he has more than ADHD. He shows many of the behaviors of a child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, depression or an anger-control problem.

Be sure he has been evaluated by a competent mental health professional. It may be that his family doctor is treating the ADHD, but that his other psychiatric problems have not yet been diagnosed or treated.

One thing is for sure: You must do more. His behaviors are disruptive to others and cannot be making him feel very good about himself. Get more help.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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