What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

What is the difference between normal childhood naughtiness, defiance and tantrums – and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)?

what is oppositional defiant disorder

After all, the signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder include the child demonstrating angry and irritable moods, argumentative and defiant behaviour, or vindictiveness.

However, in order for a diagnosis of ODD to be considered, these behaviours must have been exhibited over at least a six month period, with at least one individual that is not a sibling, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5).

Signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Although the typical behaviours of ODD are frequently seen in children (as well as adolescents and adults!), it is the persistence and frequency of these behaviours which can help the psychologist to distinguish between a tantrum, outburst or Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

The child with ODD will commonly demonstrate:

Anger and Irritable moods: frequently losing their temper; often touchy, irritable and easily annoyed; angry and resentful.

Argumentative and Defiant Behaviours: given to arguing with adults or authority figures; actively defying, or refusing to comply with rules or request from adults and authority figures; deliberately annoying others; and blaming others for their mistakes or behaviours.

Vindictiveness: Oppositional Defiant Disorder also manifests as spiteful or vindictive behaviour (at least twice within the past six months).

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Diagnosis and Treatment of Oppositional Defiant Disorder

For children younger than five years of age, the behaviour is seen to occur on most days, for a period of six months or more.

For children older than five years, the behaviour should occur at least once per week, before a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder is considered.

Treatment for Oppositional Defiant Disorder aims to reduce the symptoms, rather than “curing” the disorder.  Psychological options include:

  • Behavioural therapy to help manage the behavioural symptoms. Sessions will involve developing ways to communicate differently and resolve conflict;
  • Family therapy to help relationships, and ensure a consistent parenting method is established. Additionally, to help parents to develop effective ways to respond to the child’s behaviours.

If you have concerns about your child and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, I invite you to make an appointment with me.

Cassandra Gist Child Psychologist BrisbaneAuthor: Cassandra Gist, BPsych (Hons), MPsych, MAPS.

Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist works with clients aged from two years old right through to adulthood. She has a special interest in working with children and their families around the diagnosis and treatment of issues such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist, try Online Booking – Loganholme or Online Booking – Mt Gravatt .
Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129, or Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) on (07) 3088 5422.