Oppositional Defiant Disorder



Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a behavior disorder in children and teens. Those with this disorder show negative, angry, and defiant behaviors much more often than most people of the same age. These behaviors begin to adversely affect the person’s relationships and ability to perform successfully in school, work, and family situations.


The cause of ODD is unknown. Like other psychiatric disorders, ODD results from a combination of genetic, family, and social factors. Children with ODD may inherit chemical imbalances in the brain that make them more likely to have the disorder.
Child's Brain
Child Brain
A chemical imbalance in the brain may be responsible for ODD.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

ODD is more common in males. Other factors that may increase your child's risk for ODD include:


Symptoms usually begin around age 8 and increase over several months.
Children with ODD often:


The doctor will ask about symptoms, medical history, and family history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will also look for other conduct disorders.
Diagnosis of ODD is based on these criteria:


Treatment may include the following:

Parent Training

Training is designed to help parents manage their child's behavior.

Child Psychotherapy

The purpose of the psychotherapy is to teach the child better ways to manage anger.

Family Psychotherapy

Family therapy helps to improve family communication skills.

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

This type of therapy helps the child and family members learn problem-solving skills and decrease negativity.

Social Skills Training

This is training to help the child reduce frustration with peers.


There are no current guidelines to prevent ODD.


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

American Psychiatric Association


Canadian Psychiatric Association

Canadian Psychological Association


Children with oppositional defiant disorder. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry website. Available at: Accessed July 17, 2013.

Oppositional defiant disorder in children. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: Accessed July 17, 2013.

Oppositional defiant disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated December 7, 2012. Accessed July 17, 2013.

Revision Information