Twenty years ago I believed that about 95% of the population engaged in drinking. The other 5% were religious freaks, woman who were pregnant, or geeky nerds. I was so wrong. After I stopped drinking, I realized that most people did not drink and almost no one drank like me.
When I was single, I thought children should be banned from airplanes. Parents who brought children on trips were inconsiderate to the other passengers. Boy, did I feel stupid after I had kids. Especially when the pilot started taxing the plane back to the runway (to remove my child during a tantrum).
I also thought that people had “fake” disorders and diseases. Things like migraines, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue were all made-up problems. Don’t get me started on the child disorders, because those were just excuses for bad parenting.
May I have a napkin to wipe the piece of egg off my face? Because, my sweet child, is having a few challenges in first grade. I am learning that, once again, I need to open my mind, if I am to find solutions to enable his success. The bottom line: I have been learning about child-related disorders.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
I have gone my who life without knowing about Oppositional Defiant disorder (ODD). It is a behavioral disorder, commonly found in children and adolescents. It is seen as a pattern of hostile and disobedient behavior. Normally this behavior is directed at adults and figures of authority (like teachers). Sufferers argue with adults and have a hard time controlling their behavior. The most common behaviors are negativity, hostility, defiance and aggression.
There is no single test that can diagnose ODD, but typically, a medical professional can determine if a child has the disorder by looking at their pattern of behavior.
Children with ODD show an ongoing pattern of extreme negativity, hostility, and defiance that:
Last six months or more
Disrupts family and school
Is aimed at adult family members and of figures of authority
Is extreme when compared to other children
Symptoms that are associated with ODD:
Questioning and not following rules
Purposefully annoying and upsetting others
Sudden outbursts of anger
Often touchy and annoyed
Types of Treatment
Treatment usually consists of a combination of:
- Parent-Management Training Programs and Family Therapy to teach parents and other family members how to manage the child’s behavior. Parents, family members, and other caregivers are taught techniques in positive reinforcement and ways to discipline more effectively.
- Cognitive Problem-Solving Skills Training to reduce inappropriate behaviors by teaching the child positive ways of responding to stressful situations. Children with ODD often only know of negative ways of interpreting and responding to real-life situations. Cognitive problem solving skills training teaches them how to see situations and respond appropriately.
- Social-Skills Programs and School-Based Programs to teach children and adolescents how to relate more positively to peers and ways to improve their school work. These therapies are most successful when they are conducted in a natural environment, such as at the school or in a social group.
- Medication may be necessary to help control some of the more distressing symptoms of ODD as well as the symptoms of coexisting conditions, such as ADHD, anxiety, and mood disorders. However, medication alone is not a treatment for ODD.
More about Medication
Medication may be a useful part of a comprehensive treatment plan to help control specific behaviors and to treat coexisting conditions, such as ADHD, anxiety, and mood disorders. Successful treatment of coexisting conditions often makes ODD treatment more effective. For example, medication used to treat children with ADHD has been shown to lessen behavioral symptoms when ODD and ADHD coexist. When children and adolescents with ODD also have a mood disorder or anxiety, treatment with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications has been show to help lessen the behavioral symptoms of ODD. (1)
It was once thought that most children would outgrow ODD by adulthood. We now know this is not always true. While some of the symptoms of ODD can go away over time, and many children outgrow the disorder, some children with ODD will continue to experience the consequences of ODD during their later years.
For those who do not receive treatment, ODD can develop into Conduct Disorder (CD), a more serious behavioral disorder. Of those with CD, almost 40 percent will develop antisocial personality disorder in adulthood.(2)
Early diagnosis and treatment can help these individuals learn how to cope with stressful situations and manage their behavioral symptoms.
Psychotherapy, parent-management training, skills training, and family therapy work. Research shows that children and adolescents respond well to therapy for ODD. In fact, for those who receive treatment, many are symptom-free once therapy has concluded and will go on to lead rewarding and happy lives.
Be consistent about rules and consequences at home. Don’t make punishments too harsh or inconsistent. Model the right behaviors for your child. Abuse and neglect increase the chances that this condition will occur.
If your child or someone you loves need help for Oppositional Defiance Disorder, get help.
1.Connor DF, Glatt SJ, Lopez ID, Jackson D, Melloni RH (2002), Psychopharmacology and aggression: I. A meta-analysis of stimulant effects on overt/covert aggression-related behaviors in ADHD. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 41:253-261.
2.Zoccolillo M, Pickles A, Quinton D, Rutter M (1992), The outcome of conduct disorder. Psychol Med 22:971-986.