Oppositional Defiant Disorder Overview


Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Teens

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a difficult condition to diagnose in any child, but may be even more difficult to diagnose in teens. After all, teenagers are defiant by nature. However, normal defiance does not interfere with a child's ability to learn and get along with others. For teens with ODD, almost every aspect of life becomes a struggle. And because ODD usually develops in earlier childhood, teenagers with the condition have often been dealing with symptoms for many years.

In terms of symptoms, ODD in teens is basically the same as ODD in younger children. The main difference is that teenagers are bigger, stronger and smarter, so they're capable of doing more damage. Parents and teachers of ODD teens should arm themselves with all available knowledge and resources about this condition in order to maintain a semblance of harmony. They should also keep in mind that once a fight has begun, an ODD teen won't easily give up. The key is to prevent an outburst of ODD in the first place, and to deflect any sign of combat the moment it rears its ugly head. If this doesn't work, be prepared to walk away. It's sometimes better to give up than to fight an unwinnable war.

Because parents of ODD kids often play a role in the development of the condition, they can and should be a part of treating it. Strong parenting styles -- both too lenient and too strict -- can contribute to the development of ODD. For this reason, it can be very helpful for parents to enroll in individual or group parenting courses and workshops that are designed to teach effective methods of discipline for teens. ODD research overwhelmingly supports the idea that therapy is most effective when it includes parents and other family members. So keep in mind that your ODD teen may be able to overcome this disorder independently, but the odds of success are significantly better with your help.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

Sources

  • Biederman, J., et al., "The long-term longitudinal course of oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder in ADHD: Findings from a controlled ten-year prospective longitudinal follow-up study." Psychological Medicine, 2008, No. 28 (Accessed February 19, 2010) http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1890480
  • Harpold, T., et al. "Is oppositional defiant disorder a meaningful diagnosis in adults? Results from a large sample of adults with ADHD." Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 2007; 195:7. (Accessed February 19, 2010) http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Abstract/2007/07000/Is_Oppositional_Defiant_Disorder_a_Meaningful.8.aspx
  • Keenan, K., et al. "Further evidence of the reliability and validity of DSM-IV ODD and CD in preschool children." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 2007; 46:4. (Accessed February 19, 2010) http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/jaac/article/PIIS089085670961697X/abstract
  • Mental Health Disorders: Oppositional Defiant Disorder, University of Virginia Health System, September 11, 2007. (Accessed February 19, 2010) http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/UVaHealth/adult_mentalhealth/odd.cfm
  • Nock, Matthew K., et al. "Lifetime prevalence, correlates and persistence of oppositional defiant disorder: Results from the national comorbidity survey replication." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2007; 48:7 (Accessed February 19, 2010) http://www.wjh.harvard.edu/~nock/nocklab/Nock%20et%20al_2007_JCPP_ODD.pdf
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder, American Academy of Family Physicians. October 1, 2008 (Accessed February 19, 2010)http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1001/p861.html

More to Explore