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What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder, commonly referred to as ODD, is a mental condition that affects some children. While parents expect toddlers and younger children to act out at certain types, this disorder makes them behave in more unique and unexpected ways. These kids may develop other conditions later in life, including attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and even depression. Parents should look at some of the common symptoms and see if their own children show those symptoms before making an appointment with a health care professional.

Common Symptoms

Temper tantrums are one of the more common symptoms of ODD. Children often throw tantrums when things do not go the way they want and when they do not get things they want. They can scream, cry, lay down on the ground and even hit others. Children with ODD tend to throw more temper tantrums than other children their age. ODD suffers are also argumentative and will often fight with adults and those in a position of authority, they can act out in angry and violent ways and may use foul language. Some children do not listen to the rules put in place by parents, teachers and other authoritative figures.

Possible Causes

Though there is no one set cause of ODD, there are some possible causes. The disorder may occur because the child suffers a brain injury that causes an imbalance in the chemicals in the brain. This can change the way they react and respond to different situations. Another possible cause is genetics. Parents who experienced the symptoms of ODD as a child are more likely to have children with the same disorder. If they have one child with ODD, the odds are good that other children will suffer from ODD. Issues with the child’s environment like parents addicted to drugs and physical abuse can also cause ODD.

Medial Treatments

Therapy is generally the best medical treatment for children diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, these treatments can include interaction therapy, individual therapy and family therapy. Parent and child interaction therapy, also called PCIT, focuses on strengthening the bond between the parent and child and helping the child learn how to listen to his or her parent(s). Individual therapy allows the child to work with a caring professional, and family therapy can bring in other members of the family like siblings.

Home Remedies

In addition to medical treatments, there are some home remedies that parents can try. They can create a schedule that includes chores, schoolwork and other things that the child must do every day and work with the child to understand that he or she must check each item off that list every day. Parents can also encourage their children’s good behaviors with praise and even small treats. Kids with ODD will eventually learn that they get rewards for doing those things instead of getting punished. Children diagnosed with ODD do well with structure and set boundaries.

Related Resource: Top 20 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs

Parents often have a hard time spotting some of the signs of ODD in their children because they assume all kids act out at times. This mental disorder causes kids to react differently than their peers in the same situations. Health care professionals can diagnose oppositional defiant disorder in kids and explain some of the common treatment options to their parents.