Quick Facts

Quick Facts on Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Leer en Español


A brief overview of the signs and symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, as well as treatments.


Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder that puts children persistently at odds with authority figures. Children with ODD are temperamental, disobedient, spiteful, or vindictive to a highly unusual degree. The disorder significantly undermines the child's ability to get along with family, peers, and other adults.


  • Unusually quick to lose his temper
  • Ignores or rebels against rules, at home or at school
  • Quick to blame others for mistakes or misbehavior
  • Prone to annoy others and be easily annoyed himself
  • Disruptive behavior appears to be intentional rather than impulsive
  • Refuses to cooperate reflexively—even before he knows what is being asked.


The disorder appears to run in families, and family behaviors may play a role. There is a strong association between authoritarian parenting and harsh or inconsistent discipline practices and the onset of ODD.  The opposite is also true—not setting enough limits, or what professionals call "laissez-faire" parenting, is also associated with the onset of ODD.


ODD is usually treated with a type of behavioral therapy that includes parents, or a combination of behavioral intervention and medication. Treatment like Parent-Child Interaction Therapy is designed to increase positive parent-child interactions and teach the parent limit-setting skills that enable children to control disruptive behaviors and increase desired behaviors.

Medicines are not specifically indicated for ODD, but may be administered for co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, or help the child get the most out of her in the therapy sessions.

See our Mental Health Guide for more background on ODD.

Published: August 22, 2011

More on Teacher Resources


Get our email? CMI newsletters bring helpful resources right to your inbox.




Please help us improve the Symptom Checker!

Click here to share your thoughts about using the tool.