Oppositional Defiant Behavior

When was the last time you saw a child or adolescent act up in a fit of defiance? Chances are you’ve witnessed the yelling, crying and eye rolling recently, perhaps even from your own loved ones. While it’s not uncommon for children and teens to experience the “terrible twos” or “teenage angst,” if the behavior is excessive and persists longer than normal, the person may be experiencing signs associated with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).

The Tampa psychologists of Rice Psychology Group understand that you want to help your loved ones make steady progress towards a life of normality. The first step in that journey consists of learning the basics of the issue you and those you care about are faced with.

Defining the Basics of Defiant Behavior

odd defiant

A child or teen with ODD exhibits behavior that can potentially become a disruption in their everyday life, their relationship with their family and their experiences at school and elsewhere. The disorder is characterized by very frequent uncooperative, disobedient, hostile and irritating behavior towards others.

It’s not uncommon for youngsters with ODD to experience other issues such as ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, mood disorders and/or anxiety disorders. In some cases, people who experience ODD can eventually develop conduct disorder, a more serious condition characterized by aggressive, destructive and deceitful behavior.

There is controversy about whether ODD should be considered a real diagnosis or not and there can be many explanations for why kids exhibit this pattern of challenging behavior. It is important to look at the family and school situation as well as the child’s overall functioning before making a diagnosis.

Some contributing causes of ODD can include inherited and environmental factors such as:

  • Genetics – People with ODD can have family members with mental illnesses such as mood, anxiety and personality disorders
  • Environment – A dysfunctional family life, a family history of mental illness or drug use, and poor discipline can potentially contribute to the development of a behavioral issue

Recognizing the Signs

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the criteria for an ODD diagnosis demonstrates a behavioral pattern that:

  • Lasts at least six months
  • Happens on its own and is not a result of the course of another mental health problem
  • Creates issues with school, family and work
  • Occurs with at least one person who isn’t a sibling
  • Is made up of at least four symptoms from these categories: spite, confrontational and defiant behavior, anger and irritable mood

Some of the most common signs of ODD include:

  • Exclaiming hurtful and mean-spirited things when upset
  • Using obscene language
  • Actively looking for revenge; spitefulness
  • Constantly experiencing fits of anger and resentment
  • Easily becoming annoyed by others or intentionally trying to annoy others
  • Refusal to follow rules or directions
  • Repeatedly throwing temper tantrums

Rice Psychology Group Can Help

If you feel your loved one’s behavior is posing a problem to his/her school and social or family life, the psychologists at Rice Psychology Group are ready to help. Even if you feel like your parenting skills are not up to par with your child’s behavioral demands, know that our Tampa-based team will help you find the most effective solution.

Let us evaluate the issue in a relaxing environment that we’ve designed to help you and your loved ones feel comfortable and at ease. Contact any of our locations in Tampa today for more information about our services.

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