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Oppositional Defiant Disorder

(Also Known As: ODD, Adhd, Defiant, Oppositional, Bi-Polar, Explosive Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder is considered as a psychiatric disorder characterized by hostility, disobedience, purposefully irritating, and bothering others combined with defiant behavior against the authority, which is not normally within the bounds of normal childhood behavior. The condition is also known as oppositional disorder. The major characteristics of oppositional defiant disorder that the majority of patients seek treatment for are the child’s uncontrolled aggressiveness and purposeful act to bother others and make them continually irritable. The condition is usually accompanied with other psychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), tourette’s, depression, and anxiety disorders which can make the life of the child more difficult. When oppositional defiant disorder is accompanied by ADHD the condition is much worse. 1 The oppositional defiant disorder is often associated with conduct disorder that may later develop, with a 52% chance once left untreated. 2

Oppositional defiant disorder in younger children is more common in boys than in girls, but as they grow older the incidence of having the condition is equal for both genders. A child with oppositional defiant disorder rarely has this condition only, but often it is always accompanied with other neuropsychological problems.

The following are likely outcomes from having oppositional defiant disorder in children:

  • Some children will be lucky enough to outgrow the condition
  • The condition may lead to other psychiatric conditions. 5% - 10% of preschoolers with oppositional defiant disorder eventually end up having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) without the signs of oppositional defiant disorder at all. In other cases, the condition may lead to a conduct disorder by the age of 3 to 4 years. If at this age the child did not have conduct disorder then it will not likely to become one at all after the age of 4. The risk factor for the development of conduct disorder in children with oppositional defiant disorder is traced to the history of the child having a biological parent with a criminal career and also with a history of severe oppositional defiant disorder.
  • The child may continue to have the condition without other associated psychiatric problems. By the time a preschooler reaches 8 years old only 5% of them have oppositional defiant disorder while the others outgrow the condition.
  • Some children who continue to have oppositional defiant disorder usually have comorbid psychiatric conditions such as depressive disorder, ADHD, and anxiety disorder.
  • At the end of elementary school, 25% of children with oppositional defiant disorder will have an anxiety disorder that is very disabling. It is always important to watch out for the anxiety and mood disorders in children with oppositional defiant disorder as they grow.

It is noteworthy to recognize that oppositional defiant disorder is a condition that is more difficult to deal with than ADHD. The former is a condition that is done with deliberate intention, such as deliberate disobedience, annoying others, and deliberate opposition and aggressiveness. The latter is characterized with impulsive acts and not purposeful misbehavior. The destructiveness and defiant behavior of the child is done on purpose to annoy and make others angry. They are often not sorry for the outcomes of their mischief, believing it is not their fault. Lying is also one of the characteristics of children with oppositional defiant disorder and they always want to get a reaction from other people.

Could You Have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Antisocial Personality Disorder – disregard of rights of others, deceitful, manipulative, antisocial
Anxiety Disorder NOS – uneasiness, extreme worry, irrational fear, emotional imbalance, moody
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – neurobehavioral disorder, impulsiveness, hyperactive, attention deficit, inattention, developmental disorder, inadequate coping mechanism
Bipolar Disorder – hypermania, hypomania, mood disorder, psychosis, depression, anxiety, suicidal tendency, mixed episodes of mania and depression