kids with Oppositional Defiant disorderOppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorder, also known as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is more common than many parents realize. Statistics indicate that around 10% of kids are diagnosed with ODD prior to puberty, with the disorder more prevalent in boys.

Naughty vs. ODD

For a parent, it can be hard to differentiate between a naughty child and one with a personality disorder. After all, kids do misbehave and even if your child is caught throwing bricks at the neighbor’s car, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should make an appointment to see a psychiatrist NJ. To help you decide whether your child needs a psychiatric evaluation, here are some classic symptoms of ODD, along with some helpful advice on what to do if you suspect your child has issues.

The Symptoms of ODD

Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a lot more than a few instances of bad behavior. Kids with ODD exhibit a number of serious behavioral symptoms, which can wreck families, disrupt education, and make it very hard to love the child.

Children with ODD are aggressive and prone to temper tantrums. They get into fights and arguments all the time, with other kids, family members, and even adults. ODD kids can be spiteful, incapable of following the rules, and more often than not it’s someone else’s fault if they get caught. If your child is showing symptoms of ODD, he or she will find it hard to make and keep friends, will experience bouts of intense frustration, and will act impulsively and without thought for others.

What Causes ODD?

There is often a familial aspect to mental illness, so if you or other family members suffer from anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and other personality disorders, your child is more likely to be diagnosed with ODD or a different disorder.

Evidence also suggests that children from dysfunctional families are also susceptible to mental health problems, in particular, ODD. If a child has witnessed violence in the home or been exposed to abuse, they could begin to act out in an aggressive manner.

Seeking Treatment for ODD

A child with ODD needs professional help. If left untreated, the symptoms of ODD can worsen over time and once the child reaches puberty, they may grow into an adult with an antisocial personality disorder. Some kids do grow out of ODD, but the fallout continues through into adulthood.

Children with ODD don’t learn well at school and their education is often disrupted. Many kids end up being placed into care by Child Protective Services when their families can’t cope with their aggressive and/or violent behavior.   

A program of psychotherapy and medication is the key to treating kids with ODD, with rewards given for positive behavior and therapy used to boost the child’s self-esteem.

Are ODD Kids Psychopaths in Training?

Some psychopaths exhibited the symptoms of ODD and other behavioral problems when they were children, but a child with ODD does not necessarily become a psychopathic adult.

There is some overlap between ODD and other disorders, including bipolar and anxiety disorders, so if you are having a problem with your child, seek a professional diagnosis so treatment can begin.

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