Oppositional defiance disorder (ODD) is a childhood behavioural problem characterised by constant disobedience and hostility. ODD is one of a group of behavioural disorders known collectively as disruptive behaviour disorders, which include conduct disorder (CD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Common features of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) include excessive, often persistent anger, frequent temper tantrums or angry outbursts, as well as disregard for authority. Children and adolescents with ODD often purposely annoy others, blame others for their own mistakes, and are easily disturbed. Parents often observe more rigid and irritable behaviors than in siblings. In addition, these young people may appear resentful of others and when someone does something they don't like they prefer taking revenge more than seeking sensitive solutions. Around one in 10 children under the age of 12 years are thought to have ODD, with boys outnumbering girls by two to one.
ODD behaviours usually surface when the child is at primary school, but the disorder can be found in children as young as three years of age. Some of the behaviours of a child with ODD may include:
Is easily angered, annoyed or irritated
Has frequent temper tantrums
Argues frequently with adults, particularly the most familiar adults in their lives such as parents
Refuses to obey rules
Seems to deliberately try to annoy or aggravate others
Has low self-esteem
Has a low frustration threshold
Seeks to blame others for any misfortunes and misdeeds.
Early intervention and treatment is important, since children with untreated ODD may continue to be difficult and antisocial into their adult years. This can impact on their relationships, career prospects and quality of life. Some children with ODD will develop the more serious conduct disorder (CD), which is characterised by aggressive law-breaking and violent behaviours.