Oppositional Defiant Disorder

At Sovereign Health, we provide evidence-based treatment for teens with oppositional defiant disorder. Teens with oppositional defiant disorder can receive both mental health treatment as well as treatment for any co-occurring disorders they may have, including depression, substance addiction and other mental illnesses.

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD, is a disorder typically diagnosed in teens that is characterized by uncooperative, negative or confrontational behavior toward parents and authority figures. ODD affects from 1 to 16 percent of children and teens in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Symptoms of ODD

Teen ODD patients display excessive defiance around parents and other authority figures.

Common symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder include:

  • Excessive arguing, particularly with adults and authority figures
  • Refusal to respond to commands or comply with orders
  • Blaming others for mistakes and refusing to accept responsibility
  • Vindictiveness and spitefulness, fixating on revenge
  • Frequent use of swearing and offensive language
  • Easily irritated by or intentionally trying to upset others
  • Frequent emotional outbursts and loss of temper

In order to be diagnosed with ODD, at least four of these symptoms must be present for six months and adversely affect the teen’s social or academic life. These symptoms cannot occur solely due to psychotic or mood disorders in teens, such as depression, although patients with ODD sometimes have co-occurring disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.

Because the symptoms only emerge under certain circumstances, ODD can sometimes be difficult to notice. As a result, it’s vital to gain a familiarity with some of its most common symptoms to diagnose ODD and get the proper treatment.

What Causes ODD?

Although the exact causes of the disorder are still being researched, ODD is believed to be caused by a combination of biopsychosocial factors including environmental factors (e.g., a dysfunctional family) and genetic causes (e.g., a history of mental illness in the parents). Many children begin to exhibit symptoms by observing and mimicking abusive behaviors in their family members.

A developmental theory has also gained traction in recent years, suggesting that ODD is the product of a young child’s difficulty in separating emotionally from his or her predominant caregiver. The result is a failure to develop as an emotionally autonomous individual, continuing to exhibit the bad behavior that is a normal part of development for toddlers.

Treatments for Oppositional Defiant Disorder at Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego

The most effective way to treat oppositional defiant disorder treatment is through family therapy, a treatment method that focuses on addressing the communication skills in family interactions. Peer group therapy can also be effective because it focuses on the development of social skills. Psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), impulse control and anger management are also effective ways to treat ODD. The techniques learned in these specialized therapies can be drawn upon even after treatment is completed.

Drugs are very rarely prescribed for ODD unless other disorders are present.

Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego not only treats ODD, but also offers fun, therapeutic activities including equine therapy, yoga and field trips to local events and places of interest. We accept most major health insurance plans, making treatment affordable. If you would like further information on oppositional defiant disorder treatment, please call our 24/7 helpline to speak with a member of our team.

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