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About oppositional defiant disorder
Children with ODD are prone to persistent angry outbursts, arguments and disobedience and usually direct their behavior at authority figures, like parents and teachers. They may also target their behavior at siblings, classmates and other children.
The exact cause of ODD is not known, but both developmental and learned factors are believed to play a possible role in the disorder.
One theory suggests that children with ODD:
Another theory suggests that children with oppositional defiant disorder:
Other possible factors
Other possible factors in the development of ODD may include:
What are the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, and when do they begin to develop?
Children with ODD usually begin showing symptoms around 6 to 8, although the disorder can emerge in younger children, too. Symptoms can last throughout the teen years. Your child may be diagnosed with ODD if these symptoms are persistent and continue for at least six months.
Warning signs of ODD to look out for include:
How can I distinguish signs of ODD from the typical “challenging” behavior all children sometimes display?
Determining whether your child might have ODD can be difficult, since most children will exhibit some of the symptoms every now and then (especially when they're tired, hungry or upset). A child with oppositional defiant disorder, however, will:
Will my child outgrow this behavior?
In order to outgrow the oppositional behavior, your child would need to realize the behavior is inappropriate and make a conscious decision to change. While this natural resolution might be possible, there’s always a risk in leaving any behavioral issue untreated. Therapy with a licensed professional ensures that your child's behavior is addressed at the root cause, and helps her learn new strategies for healthier, appropriate behavior.
Does having ODD put my child at greater risk of developing more serious problems as a teen or adult?
The likelihood of a child with ODD experiencing greater difficulty in late adolescence and adulthood depends upon his individual circumstances. Generally, they are at greater risk for problems with depression and substance abuse, and this is particularly true if their childhood ODD was accompanied by other common co-morbid disorders (ADHD, depression, learning disabilities). In some cases, the diagnosis may change from ODD—which involves behavior that is problematic, annoying and hostile, but not violent or extremely aggressive—to a much more serious type of disruptive behavior disorder called conduct disorder.
People with conduct disorder are likely to engage in:
A child diagnosed with ODD is not automatically going to develop conduct disorder. It is important, however, for parents to closely monitor the behavior of their child and to seek treatment from a credentialed professional as early in the child's life as possible.
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