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Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder, usually diagnosed in childhood, that is characterized by uncooperative, defiant, negativistic, irritable and annoying behaviors toward parents, peers, teachers and other authority figures.
Some experts believe that a developmental sequence of experiences occurs in oppositional defiant disorder. This sequence may start with ineffective parenting practices, followed by difficulty with other authority figures and poor peer interactions. As these experiences compound and continue, oppositional and defiant behaviors develop into a pattern of behavior. Early detection and intervention into negative family and social experiences may be helpful in disrupting the sequence of experiences leading to more oppositional and defiant behaviors. Early detection and intervention with more effective communication skills, parenting skills, conflict resolution skills and anger management skills can disrupt the pattern of negative behaviors and decrease the interference of oppositional and defiant behaviors in interpersonal relationships with adults and peers, and school and social adjustment. The goal of early intervention is to enhance the child's normal growth and developmental process, and improve the quality of life experienced by children with oppositional defiant disorder.
Behavior disorders, as a category, are, by far, the most common reason for referrals to mental health services for children and adolescents. Oppositional defiant disorder is reported to affect between 2 and 16 percent of children and adolescents in the general population. ODD is more common in boys than in girls.
Most symptoms of ODD also occur at times in individuals without this disorder, especially during the teenage years. However, in children and adolescents with oppositional defiant disorder, these symptoms occur more frequently and interfere with learning, school adjustment and, sometimes, with the adolescent's relationships with others.
The symptoms of ODD may resemble other medical conditions or behavior problems. Always consult your adolescent's physician for an evaluation.
Specific treatment for the adolescent with oppositional defiant disorder will be determined by your child's physician or mental health professional based on:
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