Prevent ODD by Recognizing the Symptoms
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The ODD or oppositional defiant disorder is a behaviour disorder that often appears in childhood with symptoms of irritability and irritability. People with ODD also often show a rebellious and vindictive attitude.

ODD is more than just the normal tantrums seen in children. Tantrums arise in response when the child’s wishes are not fulfilled. Usually, tantrums appear at the age of 1–1.5 years, then worsen at the age of 2–3 years, and subside by the age of 4 years.

While ODD usually appears at the age of 6-8 years but can last into adolescence and even adulthood. The symptoms shown are also more aggressive and appear more often than tantrums so they have a negative impact on the sufferer’s daily life. But that doesn’t mean we can’t prevent ODD.

Causes and Risk Factors for ODD

The exact cause of ODD is not known. However, there is a suspicion that ODD is related to environmental, biological, and psychological factors. Some of the biological factors that are believed to trigger ODD are:

  • Suffer from abnormal brain function, such as abnormal neurotransmitter function
  • Having an injury to the brain that causes disturbances in the part of the brain that functions to provide judgment
  • Have a parent with a history of ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, conduct disorder, or drug abuse
  • Having a mother who smoked while pregnant
  • Suffer from nutritional deficiency

The following are some psychological factors that are believed to trigger ODD:

  • Disharmony in the family
  • Lack of attention from parents
  • Inability to establish social relationships

Meanwhile, environmental factors that are thought to trigger ODD include:

  • Poverty
  • Abuse
  • Living in a hostile or violent environment

Symptoms of ODD

Opposition and defiance are normal behaviours that appear during a child’s development. However, in children with ODD, this disobedient behaviour will be more severe and last longer, for at least 6 months.

Usually, ODD symptoms appear before the child enters school, but can also appear before adolescence. These symptoms can cause disturbances in the family, school, and social environment.

Symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder can be seen in the behaviour and emotions of sufferers, which can be recognized from the following behaviours:

  • Easy to lose patience
  • Easily angry, annoyed and offended
  • Very sensitive and easily annoyed
  • Frequently irritates and enrages others
  • Often argues with older people
  • Frequently disobeys orders or regulations
  • Frequently places blame on others for his own mistakes
  • Shows a lot of animosity or hatred for others

When to go to the doctor

Consult a psychiatrist if your child shows the above symptoms, or if you have difficulty in educating and directing your child to behave well.

ODD is important to be treated early. Otherwise, ODD can increase the sufferer’s risk of developing depression or abusing drugs.

Diagnosis of ODD

The psychiatrist or psychiatrist will evaluate the patient’s mental health through questions and answers. Patients can be diagnosed with ODD if they have the following criteria set out in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5):

  • There are at least 4 symptoms as mentioned above.
  • Symptoms last for at least 6 months and have a negative impact on daily life.
  • Symptoms are not caused by drug abuse or another mental disorder, such as psychosis, depression, and bipolar disorder.

After that, the doctor will determine whether the ODD experienced by the patient is classified as mild, moderate, or severe. The severity of these symptoms is determined by how often symptoms occur. Here is the explanation:

  • Mild ODD: symptoms appear in one condition, for example only at home or at school
  • Moderate ODD: symptoms appear in two conditions, for example at home and at school
  • Severe ODD: symptoms appear in three or more conditions, such as at home, at school, and in social settings

Handling ODD

Management of ODD depends on the patient’s age, severity, and ability to follow therapy. Therapy can last for several months or more, with the involvement of parents or family.

Psychiatrists will usually combine several types of therapy to treat ODD patients, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy, to improve the patient’s mindset and behaviour, as well as improve his ability to communicate and solve problems
  • Parent-child interaction therapy, to teach parents good ways of nurturing and interacting with children
  • Family therapy, to improve relationships and communication between family members
  • Social skills therapy, to improve the patient’s ability to interact with other people

Doctors may also prescribe medication if ODD is accompanied by another mental disorder, such as ADHD or depression. But keep in mind, drugs alone can not treat ODD.

So that therapy can provide more effective results, parents can do the following ways:

  • Set an example of good behaviour in children
  • Avoid things that can trigger arguments with children
  • Praise the child’s positive behaviour, for example when he tidies up his toys
  • Give a reasonable punishment to the child, such as reducing his pocket money, if he does bad behaviour
  • Make consistent special times to be with children
  • Build cooperation with family or teachers at school to educate children to be disciplined

To prevent ODD, we can take appropriate treatment according to the recommendations.

ODD Complications

Children and adolescents with ODD tend to find it difficult to make friends and have problems with family, teachers, or other people. ODD can also cause other problems in children, namely:

  • Reluctant to socialize
  • Decreased achievement in school
  • Disturbance in controlling desire
  • Drug abuse
  • Suicide desire

In addition, most people with ODD also have other mental disorders, such as:

  • ADHD
  • Conduct disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Learning and communication disorders
  • Depression

Prevention of ODD

Oppositional defiant disorder is difficult to prevent, but the proper ways of educating children and early treatment can help improve a child’s behaviour and prevent ODD from getting worse.

In addition, it is important to make the home a place of education and comfortable care, accompanied by a balance between love and discipline. This can reduce symptoms and prevent recurrence of ODD symptoms.