How can you know the difference between a child with ODD and a child who is simply misbehaved? If over the last six months, your child has exhibited a pattern of antagonistic, hostile and defiant behavior, chances are that he/she has ODD, particularly if four or more of the following occur often:
- Has temper tantrums or an unreasonable loss of temper
- Is argumentative with adults
- Defies adult’s requests and rules
- Exhibits spiteful and malicious behavior
- Is consistently resentful and irate
- Is easily annoyed
- Is deliberately annoying
- Refuses to accept blame for most of his/her actions and mistakes
You can be reasonably certain that your child is suffering from Oppositional Defiant Disorder if he/she is purposefully annoying other people (yourself included!) and is angry and vindictive at least four times per week.
Other behaviors that are listed above need to be present at least twice a week to further determine the diagnosis. An argumentative child or teen that seems to have no respect for authority, whether he/she’s receiving instructions from parents, teachers or others, and often loses his/her temper, is likely to have ODD.
While there is no known cause, Oppositional Defiant Disorder usually begins between the ages of one and three and runs in families. Over 5% of children have it and 30 – 40% of individuals with ADHD also have ODD. Some of the fortunate ones will outgrow it. Others will develop Conduct Disorder (CD), although if this hasn’t happened after three to four years, it won’t ever develop.
If you are suspicious that your child has ODD, seek professional help. There are medical and non-medical treatments available and it is essential for the welfare of your child and your family that you find the help that you need.