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Oppositional Defiant Disorder
What it is: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a behavioral disorder that occurs in childhood and adolescence, most often first presenting during the preschool years. Across ages, symptoms include a recurrent pattern of developmentally inappropriate angry and irritable mood (e.g., temper tantrums, tendency to be easily annoyed by others), argumentative/defiant behavior (e.g., arguments with adults, refusal to follow rules), and interpersonal punishment of others (e.g., spiteful or vindictive behavior). As a result of the oppositional or defiant behavior, relationships with others can become strained. Though the interpersonal conflict may be particularly notable with authority figures (e.g., parents and teachers), peer and sibling relationships may also be affected. Behavioral disruptions at school can result in the youth being removed from classrooms (or schools), requiring IEP or school aide interventions, and/or disrupt the youth’s ability to learn in the classroom. Behavioral disruptions at home can result in difficulty maintaining schedules or making transitions, difficulty completing chores or following house rules, and significant familial conflict. As a result, some parents/caregivers attempt to significantly modify family expectations or consequences for the struggling youth and may need additional support themselves.
Left untreated, symptoms of ODD can escalate into more serious behavioral disorders; however, with treatment, symptoms often resolve effectively.
Associated Concerns: Many youth with ODD struggle with comorbid concerns, most notably ADHD, mood disturbance, and/or anxiety.
Evidence Based Treatments offered:
For Youth Support: Depending on the age and willingness of the youth to engage in treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) may be appropriate. Individual therapy can help the youth learn skills for more effectively managing emotions or social relationships.
For Parental Support: Behavioral Parent Training (BPT). In BPT, the focus is on modifying family and parental consequences for defiant behaviors as well as providing caregiver support. This may be the best option for treatment in the cases of younger children and/or when the youth is unwilling to enter their own treatment.
Medication may also be helpful.
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