Oppositional Defiant Disorder Treatment

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Explained

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is a childhood disorder that is characterized by a young person’s negative, defiant, disobedient and often hostile behavior toward adults and authority figures (primarily), as well as peers.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder’s Associated Disorders

Children or adolescents who are diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder also may experience other behavioral or mental health disorders. For example, some common, co-occurring disorders include:

Symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Children who are diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder display many different symptoms. Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Does not listen to or obey the requests of adults or authority figures
  • Angry and resentful of others
  • Pattern of arguing with adults
  • Blames others for their own mistakes
  • Easily agitated
  • Loses temper
  • Deliberately does things to upset or annoy others
  • Frequently breaks rules in school
  • Spiteful and/or vindictive

Although children and adolescents may display some of these behaviors throughout the course of their childhood, oppositional defiant disorder is characterized by a combination of at least four of these symptoms that persist for at least six months. For a child or teen to be diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder the behavior has to occur more frequently and intensely than behavior that is typically observed in individuals of a comparable age and developmental level.

Sometimes, the problems appear in the home setting but may not be as evident in the school or community setting. Sometimes the problems are more prominent in the school setting. Regardless of where the behavior of oppositional defiant disorder occurs, it causes significant impairment in social and academic functioning.

Oppositional defiant disorder is different than conduct disorder. Conduct disorder is a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior by a child or teenager in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated. The behavior is reflected in aggressive conduct that causes or threatens physical harm to other people or animals, nonaggressive conduct that causes property loss or damage, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violations of rules. Conduct disorder is a more severe mental health disorder in young people.

Oppositional defiant disorder is also different from antisocial personality disorder, which is a disorder diagnosed in adulthood that is characterized by a long-standing pattern of disregard for other people’s rights.

It is important to seek help for your child or adolescent if you are concerned about a pattern of symptoms reflective of oppositional defiant disorder. This is a disorder that can be addressed and children/adolescents can learn how to manage their behaviors and thought patterns through treatment before they develop more significant and problematic behavior.

Causes of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Oppositional defiant disorder arises as a result of a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. It is more common for boys to be diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder and typically a diagnosis is not given until a child is approximately eight-years old.

Diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Accurately diagnosing a child with oppositional defiant disorder usually takes at least 6 months. There must be a marked pattern of beyond developmentally appropriate misbehavior. The behavior must be significant in both school and social environments. The actual diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder is either made throughout the course of individual, family or group therapy or through a more comprehensive and formalized psychological evaluation.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Treatment

Research has shown that both individual, as well as family therapy and parent training/coaching (working with the parents on how to best support the child/adolescent), are most effective oppositional defiant disorder treatment methods.

Equilibria Kids in Philadelphia offers oppositional defiant disorder treatment services designed to enable children to learn an effective skill set to manage their behaviors and gain self-esteem.

Equilibria’s child psychologists work with children and adolescents diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder and any related disorders. Our staff guides teens and children through the treatment process for oppositional defiant disorder.

Schedule An Appointment

If you would like to meet or talk with one of our child psychologists in Philadelphia about oppositional defiant disorder call us at (267) 861-3685, option 1. Or fill out our secure online form.