Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a condition in which an individual exhibits a persistent pattern of angry, disruptive or defiant behavior toward authority figures. ODD generally appears before a child is 8, however, some remain undiagnosed or untreated until the adolescent years when the acting out becomes more harmful. Some of the specific indicators of ODD are:
- Refusal to comply with basic requests
- Blaming others for mistakes
- Easily annoyed and deliberately annoys others
- Anger and resentment
- Difficulty maintaining friendships
- Violent reaction to frustration
Although many of these factors are present in every child at some point, those with ODD consistently exhibit four or more for at least six months. True Oppositional Defiant Disorder is disruptive to the child’s home and school environment and can be confused with other negative mood disorders. Parents who suspect their child may have ODD should have him assessed by a mental health professional for an official diagnosis. Because ODD is often seen in conjunction with other conditions, such as ADHD, parents must work closely with a therapist to make sure their teen’s plan of care addresses his specific needs. Early intervention is the most effective way to treat ODD, however, it is never too late for parents to get their child the help he needs.
What Causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
The causes for Oppositional Defiant Disorder are still unclear, although researchers believe that it may be the result of a combination of inherited and environmental factors. Natural disposition and temperament, developmental delays, abuse or inconsistent discipline or a chemical imbalance in the brain have all been put forth as reasonable possibilities. As children with ODD become teens, the symptoms that define the disorder may become more difficult to treat. Because teens with ODD have a marked aversion to authority figures, parents and teachers are often the target of their aggression and anger. Teens with Oppositional Defiant Disorder often feel a sense of being wronged, which serves as an excuse to act out.
Tips for Parents of Children with ODD
Treating teens for Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be tricky since the condition causes them to be resistant to anything they see as an effort to control them. Once you add the usual social and physical challenges most teens face during the adolescent years, it becomes even more difficult. Parental involvement is crucial if a teen is to overcome ODD and most mental health professionals recommend a regimen of individual and family therapy in order for both parties to learn how to effectively cope with the disorder. Although there is no medication specifically for the disorder, pharmaceuticals may help curb some of the side effects, such as anxiety, depression or insomnia. In more extreme cases, a therapeutic boarding school for teens with Oppositional Defiant Disorder can be helpful for those individuals who need full time care.
What is the Next Step for My Teen with Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
If you have decided that outside intervention would be beneficial for your teen with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, you must then select a facility that is safe and experienced. Liahona Academy has specialized in helping teen boys with ODD overcome their challenges for almost 15 years. The supportive and consistent environment at Liahona Academy allows struggling teens to immerse themselves in the full time therapy they need in order to gain the skills to communicate effectively and repair their important relationships.
For a free consultation, contact us at Liahona Academy 1-800-675-8101.