Oppositional Defiant Disorder
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is when children and teens show angry and defiant behaviors more than their peers. This impacts school, work, and family situations.
The cause is not known. It may be a mix of genes, family, and social factors.
This problem is more common in males. Other things that may raise a child's risk are:
A child's problems start at around 8 years old. They tend to get worse as time goes on.
Children with ODD often:
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and health history. You, your child's teachers, and relatives may be asked about the problems your child is having. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
The goal is to stop problem behaviors. Choices are:
Early treatment for behavioral problems may lower the risk of ODD.
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Mental Health America
Canadian Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Canadian Mental Health Association
Gorman DA, Gardner DM, et al. Canadian guidelines on pharmacotherapy for disruptive and aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or conduct disorder. Can J Psychiatry. 2015 Feb;60(2):62-76.
Oppositional defiant disorder. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry website. Available at: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-With-Oppositional-Defiant-Disorder-072.aspx. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Oppositional defiant disorder. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at:
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Accessed November 19, 2020.
Oppositional defiant disorder. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/oppositional-defiant-disorder. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/mental-disorders-in-children-and-adolescents/oppositional-defiant-disorder-odd. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 04/16/2021
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