Oppositional defiant disorder, commonly termed as ODD, is a childhood behavioural problem characterised by regular disobedience and hostility. In this condition a child shows an ongoing pattern of an angry or ill-tempered mood, defiant or argumentative behaviour, and meanness toward his family members and other people as well. The child’s behaviour mostly disrupts his regular daily activities.
As per studies, nearly sixteen percent of school-age children have Oppositional defiant disorder. Although the exact causes of this disorder are still not known, but many parents explained that their child with this disorder was generally more rigid and demanding as compared to his/her siblings from an early age. However, experts believe that there are certain biological, social and psychological factors, which can play a key role in developing this disorder.
It is quite difficult to differentiate between a strong-willed or emotional child and one with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). However, the signs of this disorder usually start appearing during preschool years. Though at times ODD might develop later, but mostly it occurs before the early teen years.
There is no doubt that almost all children are show disobedience and hostility from time to time, especially when they are hungry, tired, stressed or upset. Children might argue, disobey, and confront parents, teachers as well as other adults. This all make oppositional behaviour a common part of development for three to four year olds and adolescents. However, this openly unhelpful and aggressive behaviour becomes a serious matter when children show it very frequently and consistently that it clear become aggressive and awkward as compared to other children of the same age. This all can affect the child’s family, social and academic life.
The signs and symptoms associated with oppositional defiance disorder can be divided into three categories- Behavioural, Cognitive and Psychosocial. Doctors are generally able to observe all these symptoms in multiple settings, but these signs are generally more visible at home or at school.
Here are a few examples of signs and symptoms that can help parents figure out that their child is struggling with oppositional defiance disorder….
- Easily losing one’s temper
- Showing constant and repeated temper tantrums
- Arguing with elders
- Refusing to follow rules and requests
- Deliberately acting in a way that will annoy others
- Blaming others for own mistakes
- Deliberately showing hostile behaviour towards others
- Do not try to compromise or negotiate
- Willingly destroying friendships
- Being mean and seeking revenge
- Showing deliberate and repeated disobedience
- Using mean and hateful words for others when upset
- Showing constant frustration
- Feel difficulty in concentrating
- Inability to think before speaking
- Difficulty making friends
- Showing constant mood swings
- A very low self-esteem
- Persistent negativity
- Consistent feelings of annoyance
Apart from medications, treatment for ODD generally includes Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy includes two types of therapy techniques- cognitive-behavioural therapy and Family therapy. The cognitive-behavioural therapy focuses on reshaping the child’s thinking to improve his behaviour. While the family therapy can be proves helpful in improving family interactions and communication among them. A specific therapy technique known as parent management training, aims at teaching parents various techniques to positively change their child’s behaviour. Parents can also take help of this therapy to help their children get rid of this disorder.
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