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What Are the Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder is a condition marked by overt aggressiveness, hostility, and disobedience. In this video, learn how to differentiate symptoms from developmentally typical ‘difficult’ or ‘annoying’ behaviors.

If your child takes “defiant” to a whole new level, you probably feel at the end of your rope. Before you start pursuing treatment, however, it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Is it oppositional defiant disorder? Or something else?

In this video, learn the common symptoms.

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder is a condition marked by overt aggressiveness, hostility, and disobedience. People with ODD purposefully bother and irritate others.

Their behaviors go beyond ‘difficult’ or ‘annoying.’

Some studies estimate that as many as 65 percent of kids with ADHD also have symptoms of ODD.

To be diagnosed with ODD, a person must display at least four of these symptoms for six months or longer:

  • Loses temper
  • Argues with adults or authority figures
  • Actively defies or refuses to comply with requests or rules
  • Deliberately annoys people
  • Blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
  • Easily annoyed by others
  • Angry and resentful
  • Spiteful or vindictive

Note: To meet the ODD criteria, a behavior must occur more frequently than is typically observed in individuals of comparable age and developmental level.

The behavior must cause a significant impairment in:

  • Social
  • Academic
  • Or occupational functioning

“Children with ODD are most comfortable when they’re in the middle of a conflict. As soon as you begin arguing with them, you’re on their turf.” – Douglas Riley, Ph.D.

Any child that shows symptoms of ODD needs appropriate treatment by a:

  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Therapist familiar with the disorder

Left untreated, ODD can evolve into conduct disorder, which is marked by highly destructive and often illegal behaviors.

Some psychologists, however, have developed effective behavior therapy for reining in even the most defiant child.

“Oppositional kids are also often quite engaging and bright. They tend to be optimistic and very much their own person, with their own way of looking at the world. Once you work through their defiance, there’s a lot there to like.” – Douglas Riley, Ph.D.

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