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One of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions in childhood is oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). A child may be diagnosed with ODD if he or she consistently shows opposition and aggression toward authority figures such as parents and teachers. It must be unrelated to another mental health problem for this behavior to be considered a treatment for ODD and to negatively impact the student’s ability to function at school or in social situations.
The diagnosis of ODD can only be made by a medical doctor or a mental health professional who is appropriately qualified. To understand as fully as possible what might happen, they will likely speak to you and your child, assess your child at school and speak to his or her teachers. They will likely use standard questionnaires to screen for treatment for ODD and rule out other explanations.
There is a normal – though frustrating – phase of your child’s development when he or she expresses defiance toward authority figures, and this behavior will happen in the future. There is some variation in the number of children affected by ODD among studies, but estimates range from 1 to 16%. Studies generally indicate that boys are more likely to be affected than girls, but some claim this is due to girls’ lower aggression. A child’s diagnosis rate tends to decrease as he or she progresses through secondary school.
Evidence suggests that there are no single causes of ODD, as with most mental health difficulties. The researchers believe that a child’s genes and the social environment interact to cause the disorder, though certain psychological markers have been linked to the disorder in children. If a child struggles to regulate his or her emotions, he or she may act out more frequently if an adult requests something.
It may also be more likely that children diagnosed with ODD have difficulties switching between tasks or activities, following plans, or solving problems. Typically, children with ODD do not grow out of it, especially those with severe cases. Further, according to studies, approximately one in three children diagnosed with ODD will develop conduct disorder, a more serious condition characterized by aggression, defiance, and violence, sometimes criminal.
In addition to anxiety and depression, many children with ODD will likely develop ADHD, anxiety, and depression as they age. The phenomenon appears to be especially prevalent among young people with ODD. Despite this, several effective treatments for ODD are available, most of which are psychological, which means they do not require medication.