Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a disorder in which children ignore or defy adults’ requests and rules. They may be passive, finding ways to annoy others, or active, verbally saying “No”. They tend to blame others for their mistakes and difficulties. When asked why they are so defiant, they may say that they are only acting against unreasonable rules. They are different from children with conduct disorders in that they do not violate the rights of others. These behaviors are present at home, but not necessarily in other situations, such as school, or with other adults, although they may be.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder usually begins by age 8, and not later than adolescence generally. Often times, it is the child with the difficult-child temperament who goes on to become oppositionally defiant. Boys manifest the disorder more often before puberty, but after puberty the ratio evens out. The children display a low self-esteem, mood changes, low frustration tolerance, and temper outbursts. ADHD may also be present. Children with oppositional defiant disorder may continue on to manifest conduct disorder.
Treatment of oppositional defiant disorder has poor outcomes. When the parents are overly restrictive, the child fights back more, resulting in a power struggle. Some individual therapies and family therapies have been successful, but not to a great extent.