Could your Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

November 12, 2012

Could your Child Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

The condition known as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is said to affect between 1% and 16% of school age children. The main symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder include being hostile towards adults and figures of authority, showing disobedience and defiance and having negative views and behavior patterns. For a child to be diagnosed with ODD they must have displayed these symptoms for at least 6 months.

A child with oppositional defiant disorder will display his or her symptoms by frequently arguing with adults, being angry and not controlling their temper and deliberately choosing to ignore or resist adhering to rules. In addition a child with oppositional defiant disorder may say that others are the cause for his or her misbehavior, do things which are known to annoy others and just generally be malicious, bitter, vindictive, hurtful, angry and annoyed. In most cases the child is only verbally abusive and does not revert to physical violence.

Identifying the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder is not easy because all of the behaviors which are common in the condition are also common in very young children and in teenagers. Younger children, when distressed, perhaps because they are weary, bored or hungry will display naughty behavior consisting of arguing with grown ups, disobeying requests or having tantrums and blaming others for their situation. Teenagers just go through difficult years as they grow up and display some or all of the symptoms at different times. To diagnose oppositional defiance disorder the symptoms must be present all of the time.

It is not uncommon for the family to see the disorder at home but when the child is at school or in other settings the symptoms are not evident. This is because the child is more likely to show these behaviors when interacting with adults he or she is close to. This highlights some of the difficulties health professionals have when trying to diagnose oppositional defiance disorder as symptoms may not appear in their presence.

Children with ODD tend to see themselves positively and their behavior is a retort to unreasonable and unfair requests in situations which they find themselves.

Children having oppositional defiant disorder can have their learning disturbed, both in the academic sense and social skills development, leading to a lower level of achievement. Because of this there is a need to diagnose the condition to ensure that the best outcome in relationships with others and academic learning is achieved.

When diagnosing the child for ODD, the medical professionals note if the behavior happens more often than other children in the same age group with similar intelligence. The behaviors are analyzed to see if they only occur at certain times, such as during a mood disorder such as when the child is depressed or if it only occurs during a psychotic episode. Other conditions with similar symptoms have to be ruled out too. Conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorder are two similar conditions which doctors must eliminate during the examination.

The cause of oppositional defiant disorder is not fully known however some experts believe that when young children cannot detach themselves emotionally from parents or authority figures then a problem occurs which manifests itself as oppositional defiance disorder. Other experts are of the opinion that the condition is caused by negative and unhelpful support from parents. This causes the child to behave badly but at the same time gets noticed leading to extra communication and attention.


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