Oppositional Defiant Disorder

ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is a childhood and adolescent condition where the child’s behavior can become disruptive to daily activities in the social, school and home life. Children can have challenging behavior at times; however, children with ODD can have a pattern of behavior that can appear angry, irritable, argumentative, and vindictive at times. Even with sound parenting, ODD behavior may require the help of a psychiatry provider and counseling services.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The cause of ODD is not fully known. It is believed to be a combination of factors such as abnormal neurotransmitter functioning, genetics, and environmental factors. ODD can coexist with ADHD, learning disorders, depression and anxiety disorders. ODD is not diagnosed by a specific lab test, but is diagnosed by acquiring a history observing signs and symptoms of ODD. ODD usually is first noticed in the preschool years or early school years and before the child becomes a teen. Symptoms can include: repeated temper tantrums, constantly arguing with those in authority, refusing to follow direction, “picking” or actively trying to annoy people, becoming easily annoyed by others, displacing blame, outbursts of anger, being resentful, using “bad words”, and being intentionally mean or hurtful when angry.


It is important to treat ODD as non-treatment can lead to development of poor social skills, rejection by peers, and a more serious behavioral disorder (conduct disorder). Depending on the severity of ODD, treatment can include both counseling and medication. Counseling can include: parent training, individual therapy, family therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and social skills training. Medications are not specifically used to treat ODD, but are used to treat other conditions that may be present such as ADHD, anxiety disorders, and depression disorders.