Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children- Symptoms, Treatment


Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder in children is more perceived than in adults. Sometimes, it may become difficult to handle or manage those children who are well-behaved. In some cases teenagers and children are argumentative as well as moody. However, if you notice that your child shows consistent tantrum behavior, fury, and argues more often, there are chances that the child is suffering from oppositional defiant disorder (which is also abbreviated as ODD).

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Most parents may think that there is no way to calm the child’s unusual behavior. But you should know that possible and efficient aid can be obtained through child development professionals, experienced counselors and certified doctors.

There are certain treatment for oppositional defiant disorder which may include effective drugs, helpful in treating psychological conditions of the affected child, efficacious therapies, family interaction methods and special training to family members in handling the child.

Oppositional defiant disorder – Symptoms:

It should be known that similar to some other disorders even oppositional defiant disorder is accompanied but certain signs and symptoms. However, in some cases it may become difficult to determine ODD symptoms as it is tough to distinguish the ODD affected child from strong willed, angry or emotional child.

Some of the common symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder are:

  • Persistent unusual behavior
  • Behavioral change lasting for at least six months
  • They show disruptive behavior at home or even in school

The behavioral changes noticed in child with oppositional defiant disorder are as follows:

  • Negative thoughts or deeds
  • Rebelliousness
  • Lack of obedience
  • Aggressiveness towards others

There are some signs and symptoms of ODD that may be regularly noticed:

  • Conniption
  • Arguing with elders and others
  • Refusal to adults and elders request
  • Causing annoyance to other people deliberately
  • Blaming other individuals for own mistakes and misbehaviors
  • Getting easily annoyed and acting sensitive
  • Fury and hatred
  • Spiteful behavior
  • Aggression
  • Difficulties in making friends or even maintaining existing friendship

There are certain psychological health issues that may serve as the symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder:

  • Hindered concentration
  • ADHD abbreviation for Attention-deficit/Hyperactive disorder
  • Worry or Anxiety
  • Depression

As mentioned above that the symptoms of ODD may be difficult to determine or distinguish from some usual misbehaved children, these aforementioned symptoms when persist for persisting time may help in determining the prevalence of the disorder.

However, it is essential to diagnose any such behavioral changes in your child as such condition may intensify the psychological condition when left untreated for a long time. There are possibilities that your child must have become addicted to certain substance which should also be addressed timely. With changes in behavior such as increase in anger, tempers etc children may get addicted to substances such as cigarette etc which is usually seen in children and teenagers.

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Oppositional Defiance Disorder- Causes:

The medical industry has not discovered any certain causes of Oppositional defiant disorder. However, there are some factors that may combinedly cause such issues, these are:

  • Natural disposition of the Child
  • Delay in development of child’s potential to feel and process thoughts
  • No or inappropriate supervision
  • No discipline or reduced discipline.
  • Negligence
  • Chemical imbalance in brain

Oppositional defiant disorder- Treatment:

Oppositional defiant treatment may mostly include different kinds of psychotherapy as well as training for the affected child. There are chances that the treatment may also require family members to undergo training as they need to take care of the child. In case the afflicted child also suffers from co-existing medical conditions such as ADHD then specific medicines may help in providing relief from the symptoms and improving the physical condition.

Training for family and affected child:

Specialized counseling provided to your child may help her/ him to learn to handle anger and express her/ his emotions and feeling in a better way. Counseling provided to your family may help in education the family member on how to communicate and handle the child.

PCIT or Parent Child Interaction Therapy:

During parent child interaction therapy the therapist teaches parent how to interact with the affected child. In one of the techniques the therapist uses and one way mirror and sits behind it, through a audio device he/ she guides parents, explaining strategies the reinforce their child towards a positive behavior.  It is noticed that PCIT proves to be significant aid as parents learn more- efficacious parenting methods which reduces the behavioral issues of the child. This treatment technique finally improves the relationship between the parent and the child.

Training for solving cognitive problems:
This oppositional defiant disorder treatment is focused at assisting the afflicted child to identify and overcome the behavioral changes. It is believed that the collaborative problem solving may help in improving symptoms of ODD as the technique includes the child and parents working together to find an effective solution that is suitable for both.   

Training related to social skills:

Social skills training program involves teaching on how to socialize or interact with others. The affected child may find this treatment beneficial as it helps the child to interact more effectively and in a positive manner. Similarly even parents can attend the training as they may need to learn how to interact with the child in positive manner.

Parents training:
Parents may need to undergo different training which may also include anger management as most parents may get frustrated sooner on the behavior of their child. This may lead to argument between the affected child and parents which may in turn make the situation even worse.

Most people may perceive that these training as merely common and one need not undergo any training for that. But it should be understood that it becomes difficult to practice these teaching in real life scenarios. Only learning these skills does not make life easy you should be able to effectively implement in your daily life.

It is essential to seek doctor’s assistant when your child shows such abnormal and intolerable behavior. A child specialist particularly in the field of psychology may provide significant help and suggest treatment technique for oppositional defiant disorder if required.

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