Quick Facts on Oppositional Defiant Disorder
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.
More on ODD
For a complete guide to ODD, see our Mental Health Guide.