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Successful Resolution of ODD: Take Action Early

Successful Resolution of ODD | Take Action Early


Defiance, disobedience and contrary – what child doesn’t occasionally exhibit such behaviors? Many children will misbehave from time to time, especially when they don’t feel well or when they think that they are being mistreated. When improper behavior, however, is exhibited with frequency, pay attention! There could be more to it than meets the eye. It might be ODD or oppositional defiant disorder.

Children with ODD have often been misunderstood. They can have a lot of difficulty interacting with others as a result of their disruptive behavior. As such, they are often labeled as disobedient, spoiled, non-conformist, rebellious, defiant, misbehaved, wayward, and the list goes on. Thus, other children, even their own siblings, may avoid them and their own parents and teachers may find themselves using a heavy hand in disciplining them. Misunderstood, they can lead a lonely life. Unrecognized as a condition, it can be a precursor to more serious behavioral issues.

If ODD grips your child, you would want to save him/her from its grasp as early as possible or before it hurts them more deeply. Your love matters a lot, but you may also need help to free your child from this behavioral and emotional hurdle. You need to understand it to be able to recognize the symptoms and to seek the appropriate professional help.


What is ODD?

“Bad behavior” has been just that, an ill way of behaving that many people see as common among children. It wasn’t until 1980 when it recognized that extreme disruptive behavior isn’t healthy. It was aptly named “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” and was considered both an emotional and behavioral condition in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III).

When should a questionable behavior be given special attention? Is it different from “Conduct Disorder” (CD)?  The need to clarify these questions resulted in the DSM’s subsequent revisions. In DSM-IV, it was stated that “the child must exhibit four out of the eight signs and symptoms to meet the diagnostic threshold for oppositional defiant disorder.”  Many children may start to manifest symptoms before they turn eight. It isn’t unusual, however, for some to show them when they are older or in their adolescence, when the symptoms have gotten worse for them to be more obvious or perceptible.

For a child to fit the diagnosis, the symptoms must be exhibited for at least six months. The revisions also made it clear that it is different from CD, but could be a precursor to it. Know that the symptoms may vary from one child to another. Considering that it is both a behavioral and psychosocial condition, the updates concerning the diagnosis of ODD in the 2013 revisions of the DSM (V), includes the three categories of the symptoms, namely: 1) vindictiveness, 2) angry/irritable mood, and 3) argumentative/defiant behavior.


The ODD Red Flags

Is your child just being difficult, or is he/she defiant, antisocial, wayward, disobedient, etc. because of ODD? Many parents have difficulty recognizing the symptoms. One reason is because these nonspecific symptoms are common behaviors among young people. Another reason is because many parents aren’t ready to accept that their beloved child isn’t as perfect as they may want them to be. This is why seeking professional assistance is important and necessary to help children with ODD.

Not every disagreeable or unacceptable behavior indicates ODD, but it can be a real possibility when defiance is persistently displayed for months – or six months at least. This is something that parents can observe. When this is noticed, it will be in your child’s best interest to seek help soon from a behavioral health professional.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, the symptoms of ODD may include:

  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Excessive arguments with adults
  • Refusal to comply with adult requests
  • Always questioning rules; refusal to follow rules
  • Behavior intended to annoy or upset others, including adults
  • Blaming others for one’s own misbehaviors or mistakes
  • Easily annoyed by others
  • Frequently having an angry attitude
  • Speaking harshly, or unkindly
  • Seeking revenge


The Dangers of ODD

Undiagnosed, ODD runs the risk of becoming worse. As it becomes worse, it can bring about risks to your child’s physical and emotional health. Untreated, it can also impact their functioning, so they perform poorly in school or fail to meet their responsibilities at home and school. It can prevent them from having positive and satisfying interactions with other people. Without treatment, ODD may also lead to worse conditions, such as conduct disorder that may persist into their teenage and adult years.

Untreated and unresolved, your child may develop other issues – antisocial behavior, poor performance, difficulty controlling their impulses or temper, and/or substance use disorder. ODD can similarly increase their vulnerability to CD, learning and communication disorders, and other emotional conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Any of these can complicate the condition and the treatment, especially when these are not diagnosed or treated early and properly.

Studies reveal that ADHD or Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is strongly associated with ODD. Though not every child with ODD suffers from ADHD, about 65 percent do. The worse thing that can happen when the condition is not detected or treated soon enough is for conduct disorders to develop as the symptoms continue spiraling downward.


The Good News: ODD Can Be Treated

 ODD isn’t a condition that can be prevented, particularly when it is caused by a structural injury or anomaly in the brain, so that certain neurotransmitters are not being produced or released. It also cannot be stopped from being triggered or developing if your child is genetically predisposed to it. Resolving the condition, however, is possible, improving its outlook with early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

With treatment, children with ODD can experience an improvement in their symptoms within three years of treatment. This means that with the right interventions, 2-year old toddlers may grow into less disagreeable school-aged children to enjoy satisfying relationships with other children. Or defiant children may grow to become more easy-to-get-along-with adolescents and have fun teenage years.

Professional behavioral health practitioners are equipped with a number of approaches and interventions to treat and improve ODD. These include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, social skills training, as well as family therapy, parental skills training, and other preventative programs.


Resolving ODD with Counseling and Therapy

A child with oppositional defiant disorder may test your patience like no other, by not responding to your usual parenting style. Insisting on your usual discipline style may do more harm than good, not only for your child’s emotional wellbeing, but for you and your relationship with them as well. If your child is beleaguered with ODD, they may need treatment that’s tailored to their special needs.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, for successful resolution of ODD symptoms, the treatment must be tailored to the specific needs of a child. This means that the approaches for preschoolers may be different than that of teens. This also means that you may need professional help from a committed and qualified therapist/counselor. A trained counselor independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services in Cameron, NC – on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks, can help provide prompt detection, intervention, and therefore early resolution for your child’s condition.

It may not be easy to accept that your child isn’t perfect, but your love and concern are stronger than your fears. Early detection and treatment are critical to improve the outlook of ODD. Treatment with CCS-Cameron can lessen the interference of oppositional behaviors in your child’s interactive relationships with others at home, school and other varied social settings. As a parent, you can also be assisted with parenting techniques and communication and conflict resolution skills which can help you better provide and support your child’s unique needs. So, resolve your child’s ODD symptoms now with the help of a therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services in Cameron, NC – on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC

Counties: Harnett County

Areas: Cameron NC, Linden Oaks NC, Sprout Springs NC, Anderson Creek NC, Olivia NC, Pineview NC, Johnsonville NC, Spring Lake NC

Zip Codes: 28326, 28327, 27332, 28394

Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Tricare Prime, Tricare Select, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express


Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Individuals, families, PTSD, Trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Adjustment Disorder, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, communication skills, and Parenting Skills, Behavior Management, Life transitions, Family Conflict, Difficulty Coping, Relationship Problems, Depression, Anxiety

InsuranceBCBSTricare, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted and Apple Pay

Credit cards:  


Shirlisa Daniels, MS, LPC, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Teens, Adults and Individuals, Families, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, ODD, PTSD, Relationship Issues, Conflict Resolution and Life Transitions
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Holly Ring, LMFT

Specializes in: (Ages 7+) Adolescents, College Students, Individuals, Couples, and Families, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma (child and adult, TFCBT certified), Relationship Issues, Coping Skills, Adjustment Disorders, Life Transitions, Suicidal Ideation, Self-esteem, OCD, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting Skills, LGBTQ
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

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Carolina Counseling Services - Cameron, NC
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Cameron, NC 28326

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Fayetteville, NC 28311

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