As a parent, one of the most difficult things to experience is seeing your child struggle with a mental health disorder. One such disorder that can affect children is Oppositional Defiant Disorder, more commonly referred to as just ODD. It can be difficult to identify and diagnose, so it's important to understand what signs a child psychiatrist looks for. Here's what you need to know.
What Is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
ODD is a disorder that involves your child displaying persistent patterns of negative, defiant, and hostile behavior. The Centers for Disease Control report that ODD starts between the ages of eight and twelve. The disorder is characterized by persistent disobedience and aggression towards authority figures beyond the random tantrum or bad day.
What Signs Does a Child Psychiatrist Look for When Diagnosing ODD?
There are many signs that a child psychiatrist will look for when determining a diagnosis for your child. For ODD, the signs to look for include the following:
- Persistent patterns of behavior. In other words, the behaviors will be occurring regularly over an extended period.
- Hostile or defiant behavior. This behavior could include temper tantrums, refusing to follow the rules, arguing with adults, and deliberately annoying others.
- Quick to anger. Another sign of ODD is being easily annoyed or angered by others.
- Physical aggression. Children with ODD are often aggressive toward other people or animals and intentionally damage other people's property.
- Vindictive. A child with ODD may be more likely to seek revenge against other people. However, vindictiveness is not a normal part of childhood behavior.
If you are concerned that your child may be exhibiting signs of ODD, you should speak to a child psychiatrist about the pattern of behavior you are witnessing.
How Does a Child Psychiatrist Treat ODD?
If these signs are present in your child's behavior, it's important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional specializing in treating children with ODD. A comprehensive assessment should involve interviews with both parents and the child as well as observations of the child's behavior during visits to the office or at home. After making an intake assessment, treatment options will be discussed.
There are many ways to treat ODD in children, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Medication management
- Family therapy
- Individual therapy
The exact form of treatment will depend on the root cause of the ODD, the severity of your child's ODD, your child's individual needs, and your family's dynamic.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) can be challenging for the entire family, but there are options. If you suspect your child has this disorder, it's important to consult a qualified mental health professional specializing in treating children with ODD. With a proper diagnosis, a well-thought-out treatment plan, and a caring child psychiatrist, you can give your child the best chance at living a life without ODD impeding their progress.