Oppositional Defiant Disorder

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OppositionalDefiant Disorder

Physiciansdefine (ODD) as a form of hostile,insubordinate, irritable, and insolent demeanor directed to adultssuch as parents, teachers, or instructors. Children and teenagerswith this disorder rebel against adults and argue with themfrequently. They also have angry outbursts and defy or ignore therequests and rules of adults. They have a tendency of blaming othersfor their difficulties and mistakes and claim their behaviors are areaction to unreasonable situations. The main difference between themand children with conduct disorders is that they are not likely toviolate other people’s rights. These behaviors are more common athome than in schools (American Academy of Child and AdolescentPsychiatry, 2016). This paper describes the history, prevalence, andsymptoms of this disorder.


Indeed,the history of ODD has involved attempts to ensure that it is betterunderstood. Its first definition was given in the third edition ofDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-3) in1980. This was the first time it was considered an independentdisorder and the diagnostic criteria that were used to inform itsdefinition mainly included male subjects. This prompted someclinicians to question whether these diagnostic criteria could beused with female subjects (Pardini, Frick, &amp Moffitt, 2012). Somewondered whether gender-specific thresholds and criteria should beused. Others questioned whether this disorder should be precluded incases where conduct disorder is present. Later, DSM-4 defined thisdisorder but exclusively focused on defiant, negativistic, andhostile behavior however, it did not include irritability. Then,DSM-5 gave its definition, which included irritability.


Diagnosticand Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5)offers diagnostic and classification tools, which are helpful toidentify the signs of ODD (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).These symptoms are invariably present at home. Its symptoms are veryapparent in relations with peers or adults well-known by the child,therefore, may be less obvious during medical examinations. Childrenor adolescents with ODD do not usually view themselves as defiant oroppositional but, vindicate their actions and behaviors by arguingthat they are a reaction to instructions or situations that areunreasonable (Bressert, 2017).

Childrenwith this disorder frequently defy rules and argue with theirparents, specifically when they are upset, hungry, or tired. Some ofthe demeanors related to ODD can also arise in children oradolescents who are stressed up, experiencing a crisis, or undergoinga transition. This makes it hard for parents to distinguish betweenits behavioral symptoms and expected behaviors that are related tostress (Bressert, 2017). Children with this order show a continuedpattern of extreme hostility, defiance, and negativity that is:

  1. Constant for at least six months.

  2. Excessive in relation to what is expected of children of a similar age.

  3. Generally directed at authority figures such as parents, coach or teachers.

Thereare some behavioral symptoms, which are associated with thisdisorder:

  1. Engaging in arguments with adults excessively,

  2. Having regular temper tantrums,

  3. Actively questioning rules and refusing to obey them,

  4. Blaming other people for their difficulties or mistakes,

  5. Upsetting or annoying others deliberately.

  6. Getting upset easily.

  7. Being revenge seeking and having a spiteful attitude,

  8. Being resentful and having frequent outbursts (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2012)

Usually,kids with ODD rarely exhibit delinquent behaviors. Girls and boyswith this disorder show different symptoms [ CITATION Quy12 l 1033 ].Girls frequently express their aggressiveness via words instead ofactions. They are more likely to be uncooperative and tell lies.Boys, on the other hand, often lose their temper and excessivelyargue with adults. Children with behavioral symptoms that arerelated to mood disorder, for example, stress are not diagnosed withODD (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2012).


ODDis relatively prevalent in early school-aged or late pre-schoolchildren. In younger children, it is more dominant in boys than ingirls however, in adolescents and school-aged children, it occursequally in both genders. Its symptoms are comparatively stable inchildren whose ages range from five years to ten years but, becomeless stable in older children (Quy &amp Stringaris, 2012). It ishardly diagnosed in adolescents, partly so as to avoid markingnormative discomfort between them and their parents. Studies revealthat it affects children from families of any background though, itis more common among children in lower socioeconomic societies. Itsestimated prevalence ranges from 2 percent to 10 percent (AmericanAcademy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2012).


OppositionalDefiant Disorder is a regular pattern of offensive, hostile, anddefiant behavior in children and adolescents directed towardsgrown-ups for over six months. Some of its symptoms include losingcontrol of temper quickly, maniacal behavior, being incommodious,continually blaming other people for their mistakes, and breaking therules. It is more prevalent in males than in females. Teachingchildren with this disorder how to apply standards and regulations totheir actions avoids the instances whereby they attempt to findloopholes in rules. Since these kids like being in control ofsituations, it is imperative to ask them questions instead of givingthe directives.


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2012). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. A Guide for Families, 1-18.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2016, August 12). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Retrieved from AACAP: http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Resource_Centers/Oppositional_Defiant_Disorder_Resource_Center/FAQ.aspx

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

Bressert, S. (2017, March 14). Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptoms. Retrieved from Psych Central: http://psychcentral.com/disorders/oppositional-defiant-disorder-symptoms/

Pardini, D. A., Frick, P. J., &amp Moffitt, T. E. (2012). Building an evidence base for DSM-5 conceptualizations of Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder: Introduction to the special edition. J Abnorm Psychol, 119(4), 683-688.

Quy, K., &amp Stringaris, A. (2012). . Textbook of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 1-14.