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What is oppositional defiant disorder?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD ) is a children’s mental health disorder that involves defying parents, breaking rules, and other serious behavior problems. All children act out sometimes, but kids who have oppositional defiant disorder struggle with their behavior regularly. They are often angry or irritable. Their behavior problems are also more extreme. For example, a child with ODD might yell at authority figures or throw tantrums if they don’t get their way.

In order to be diagnosed with ODD, a child needs to have extreme behavior issues for at least six months.

What are the symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder?

Children with ODD have a pattern of behavior problems. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Being unusually angry and irritable
  • Frequently losing their temper
  • Being easily annoyed
  • Arguing with authority figures
  • Refusing to follow rules
  • Annoying people on purpose
  • Blaming others for mistakes

Some children with ODD struggle with disruptive behavior in school. Others only struggle at home with family.

How is oppositional defiant disorder diagnosed?

For a child to be diagnosed with ODD, they must have a pattern of disruptive behavior including at least four symptoms from this list:

  • Often loses temper
  • Easily annoyed
  • Often angry and resentful
  • Argues with adults
  • Breaks rules
  • Annoys or hurts people on purpose
  • Blames others for behavior

For a diagnosis, these symptoms also need to last at least six months and involve at least one person who isn’t a sibling.

ODD is typically diagnosed in kids in elementary school.