This problem is more common in males. Other things that may raise a child's risk are:
Having other people in the family who have the same problems
Having a parent with a mood disorder or learning or substance misuse problems
Having a mother who used alcohol, smoked, or had a poor diet while pregnant
Problems with how the family works at home
Prior child abuse
Lack of parent attention
A child's problems start at around 8 years old. They tend to get worse as time goes on.
Children with ODD often:
Argue with adults
Lose their tempers
Do not follow what an adult tells them to do
Annoy others on purpose
Are annoyed by others
Are angry and bitter
Are spiteful or want to get back at others
Blame others for their own mistakes
Have low self-esteem
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and health history. You, your child's teachers, and relatives may be asked about the problems your child is having. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
The goal is to stop problem behaviors. Choices are:
Individual or group counseling to help children learn to express and control anger
Social skills training to help a child get along better with peers
Medicines may be used with other treatments to help ease certain symptoms, such as mood swings
Early treatment for behavioral problems may lower the risk of ODD.
Gorman DA, Gardner DM, et al. Canadian guidelines on pharmacotherapy for disruptive and aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or conduct disorder. Can J Psychiatry. 2015 Feb;60(2):62-76.
Oppositional defiant disorder. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry website. Available at: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-With-Oppositional-Defiant-Disorder-072.aspx. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Oppositional defiant disorder. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/o/oppositional-defiant-disorder. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Oppositional defiant disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/oppositional-defiant-disorder. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/mental-disorders-in-children-and-adolescents/oppositional-defiant-disorder-odd. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 04/16/2021
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