Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Dealing with Oppositional Defiant Disorder

In my work with children, a popular diagnosis that I see increasing in frequency is Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This disorder is very challenging for parents who have a child with this diagnosis. According to the DSM-5, disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders include conditions involving problems in the self-control of emotions and behaviors. Disorders in this category are manifested in behavioral issues such as aggression and destruction of property. Individuals with these disorders also struggle with significant conflict with authority figures and societal norms. Below is a list of disorders that fall under this category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition:

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Pyromania
  • Kleptomania

Due to its increase of occurrence in recent years, I feel that having a better understanding of what Oppositional Defiant Disorder is can greatly assist parents who are struggling to raise children with this particular disorder. The diagnostic criteria for ODD is listed below as it appears in the DSM-5:

  • A pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least 6 months as evidenced by at least four symptoms from any of the following categories, and exhibited during interaction with at least one individual who is not a sibling

Angry / Irritable Mood

  • often loses temper
  • is often touchy or easily annoyed
  • is often Angry and resentful
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Argumentative / Defiant Behavior

  • often argues with authority figures or, for children and adolescents, with adults
  • often actively defies or refuses to comply with requests from authority figures or with rules
  • often deliberately annoys others
  • often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior


  • has been spiteful or vindictive at least twice within the past 6 months
  • The disturbance in behavior is associated with distress in the individual or others in his or her immediate social context, or it impacts negatively on social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The behaviors do not occur exclusively during the course of a psychotic, substance use, Depressive, or Bipolar Disorder

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