Diseases & Conditions


ODDCausesComplicationsLifestyle RemediesRisk FactorsSymptomsTestsTreatment

What is ODD?

ODD or Oppositional Deficient Disorder is an ongoing pattern of negativist, hostile, disobedient and defiant behavior shown towards authority figures which crosses the line of normal childhood behavior.

Causes of Oppositional Deficient Disorder

Data available indicate that the contributory factors for ODD are in most cases, a combination of environmental and inherited factors. Some of the causes for such behavior may include:

  • The natural behavioral tendencies of the child
  • Developmental delays or limitations in the child’s ability to process feelings and thoughts.
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Lack of supervision can cause Oppositional Deficient Disorder
  • Inconsistent or harsh discipline
  • Sometimes, abnormalities or alterations in serotonergic, dopaminergic or noradrenergic systems, elevated testosterone or low cortisol levels can also lead to ODD.

Complications of Oppositional Deficient Disorder

A child suffering from ODD may develop more serious problems such as severe delinquency, conduct disorder or substance abuse.

Lifestyle Remedies for Oppositional Deficient Disorder

  • Praising a child’s specific positive behavior
  • Modeling the behavior expected from the child
  • Setting limits and enforcing consistent reasonable consequences. Ensure appropriate and consistent disciplinary procedures.
  • Building quality time together.
  • Assigning an essential household chore that can be performed only by the child.

Risk Factors for Oppositional Deficient Disorder

There are several possible risk factors that can lead to ODD. They are:

  • Having a parent who has a substance abuse or mood disorder
  • Deficient parental involvement in child’s life
  • Growing up in an environment where parents’ relationship is estranged.
  • Having parents who have suffered from ODD, conduct problems or ADHD
  • Exposure to violence.
  • Instability in family life such as experiencing parents divorce, frequent moving or changing schools etc.

Symptoms of Oppositional Deficient Disorder

A child suffering from Oppositional Deficient Disorder may display a few or more of the following symptoms and behavior patterns:

  • Losing temper
  • Purposely defying requests
  • Arguments with adults
  • Refusal to follow rules, commands and requests
  • Deliberately annoying people
  • Not owing up to misbehavior and mistakes, putting the blame on others.
  • Getting easily perturbed and angered
  • Being spiteful, resentful and vindictive.
  • Having few or no friends or losing friends

To fit the diagnosis for ODD, a child has to display a consistent or persistent pattern of hostility and disobedience towards adults. A child meets the criteria for ODD only when he/she exhibits the behavior pattern more often than other children in the same developmental level and age group.

Exams and Tests

To diagnose ODD, the child with ODD symptoms may be subjected to various examinations and tests conducted by a psychiatrist or psychologist. For children and juveniles, the following conditions may cause similar behavior patterns as Oppositional Deficient Disorder – anxiety disorders, bipolar disease, Depression, Learning Disorder, Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, substance abuse disorder. All of these should be considered as possibilities while evaluating the child. One of the conditions may exist along with ODD.

Treatment of Oppositional Deficient Disorder

Comprehensive treatment for ODD may include medication, consultation with school staff, individual and family therapy. A variety of approaches may be incorporated in the treatment of ODD. These include individual psychotherapy, parent training programs, social skill training and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Different methods are used for children and adolescents suffering from Oppositional Deficient Disorder and are designed specifically for the individual child.

Individual and Family Therapy: This kind of counseling can help the child to express feelings in a healthy manner and manage anger.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: During this kind of therapy for treating Oppositional Deficient Disorder, the therapist coaches parents when they are interacting with their children. They can do this by using audio devices to guide the parents’ strategy to reinforce the child’s positive behavior.

Cognitive Problem Solving Training: This kind of therapy for ODD aims to help the child identify and change the patterns that lead to behavioral patterns. Collaborative problem solving method for treating Oppositional Deficient Disorder includes participation of both the child and parents to find a solution to problems.

Social Skills Training: During this treatment course for Oppositional Deficient Disorder, a child is trained how to interact effectively and positively in a social set up to improve his/her relations with peers and others.