Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder in children and teens. Those with this disorder show negative, angry, and defiant behaviors much more often than most people of the same age. These behaviors begin to adversely affect the person’s relationships and ability to perform successfully in school, work, and family situations.

  • Causes

    The cause of ODD is unknown. Like other psychiatric disorders, ODD results from a combination of genetic, family, and social factors. Children with ODD may inherit chemical imbalances in the brain that make them more likely to have the disorder.

    Child's Brain
    Child Brain
    A chemical imbalance in the brain may be responsible for ODD.
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Definition

    Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder in children and teens. Those with this disorder show negative, angry, and defiant behaviors much more often than most people of the same age. These behaviors begin to adversely affect the person’s relationships and ability to perform successfully in school, work, and family situations.

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about symptoms, medical history, and family history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will also look for other conduct disorders.

    Diagnosis of ODD is based on these criteria:

    • Child displays at least four common symptoms.
    • Symptoms occur more often and have more serious consequences than is typical in children of a similar age.
    • Symptoms lead to significant problems in school, work, or social life.
    • Symptoms are continuously present for at least 6 months.

  • Prevention

    There are no guidelines for preventing ODD.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase a child's risk for ODD include:

    • Sex: male
    • Age: childhood and teen years
    • A parent with a mood, conduct, attention deficit, or substance abuse disorder
    • Marital conflict
    • Child abuse
    • Inconsistent parental attention
    • Low socioeconomic status

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms usually begin around age 8 and increase over several months.

    Children with ODD often:

    • Argue with adults
    • Lose their tempers
    • Refuse to follow adults' requests or rules
    • Deliberately annoy others and are annoyed by others
    • Are angry and resentful
    • Are spiteful or vindictive
    • Blame others for their own mistakes
    • Have low self-esteem

  • Treatment

    Treatment may include the following: